Jayapal, Higgins Introduce the “Require a Score Before the Floor” Bill

July 12, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Budget Committee Members, Reps. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Brian Higgins (NY-26), announced the introduction of the Require a Score Before the Floor bill, which amends the House rules to prohibit a vote on budget-impacting legislation until cost estimates are made publicly available by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

“Passing any bill without fully understanding its implications is reckless—plain and simple,” said Rep. Jayapal, Vice Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee. “This entire year, House Republicans have been operating under a veil of secrecy, ramming through legislation like Trumpcare that would have sweeping consequences to the American economy. Our commonsense bill would simply require that any measure that impacts the budget gets a ‘score before the floor,’ so that constituents and their representatives have all the information about a bill's effects before votes are cast.”

Congressman Higgins, who also serves as Vice Ranking Member of the Committee on Ways and Means, said, “This is basic, common sense. The public and the representatives who serve them in Congress have the right and responsibility to fully understand the projected implications of legislation before a bill comes to a vote. It is irresponsible and a blatant attempt at public deception to accept anything less.”

Earlier this year, House Republicans – without hearings or debates – drafted the American Health Care Act (AHCA) behind closed doors and passed the legislation without a full score by the CBO. Members of the House were unable to assess the full budgetary impact of AHCA at the time of its passage.

The Congressional Budget Office is an independent, non-partisan entity of experts that provides objective analysis, also known as a score, of legislation affecting the federal budget. The CBO’s role has been in the spotlight recently after members of the House of Representatives voted on AHCA prior to the release of the CBO’s analysis of the bill.

The Require a Score Before the Floor bill amends the House rules to require a CBO score to be available to all members of the House and to the general public before budget legislation comes to the floor for a vote. This bill also requires a CBO score before a budgetary bill is discharged from the House Budget Committee during the reconciliation process.