House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio brushed off a preliminary analysis from the Congressional Budget Office that said repealing the Democrats’ health care law would add about $230 billion to the federal deficit over the next ten years.
“I do not believe that repealing the job killing health care law will increase the deficit,” Boehner told reporters Thursday. “The CBO is entitled to their opinion, but they’re locked into the constraints of the 1974 Budget Act. …If you believed that repealing Obamacare is going to raise the deficit, then you would have to have some way to offset that spending. But I don’t think anybody in this town believes that repealing Obamacare is going to increase the deficit.”
Appearing on CBS’s “The Early Show” Thursday morning, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia also dismissed the CBO score, saying that the nonpartisan CBO was basing its estimate on “budget gimmickry.”
Critics of the repeal effort have cited the new CBO report as an example of Republicans backing away from campaign promises. As part of the Republicans’ new rules package for the House, most bills cannot proceed unless they are fully paid for, but Republicans have exempted the repeal proposal from those rules. Republicans are also not allowing the bill to go through the committee process or be open to amendments from the minority party.
“Listen, I promised a more open process,” Boehner said. “I didn’t promise that every single bill was going to be an open bill.”
House Republicans have scheduled to vote on a repeal of the health care law on January 12. It is largely seen as symbolic since there is no indication it will ever pass the Democrat-majority Senate.