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CNN anchor Kate Bolduan came prepared with receipts on Friday when Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) attempted to dismiss the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s analysis that the House GOP’s Israel aid bill would add $26.8 billion to the national budget deficit.
While the South Carolina lawmaker fumed that he has “very little confidence in the CBO” because they “have an agenda to back up whatever view” the Biden administration presents, Bolduan pointed out that Norman previously touted the office’s findings when it suited him politically.
The Israel aid bill, which narrowly passed the House on Tuesday, kicked off Speaker of the House Mike Johnson’s (R-LA) new reign of leadership with a partisan fight, almost certainly delaying emergency military aid to Israel.
The bill provides $14.3 billion in aid to Israel but “offsets” this cost by cutting $14.3 billion in funds to the Internal Revenue Service.
Contradicting House Republicans’ supposed goal of not adding to the national debt, the CBO found that the legislation would increase the deficit by $26.8 billion over the next ten years. The IRS, citing the reduced capacity to audit wealthy corporations and enforce collections, claimed the cuts would cost the government $90 billion over the next decade.
Those trade-offs incensed Democrats, leaving the bill D.O.A. in the Senate and White House.
Appearing on CNN News Central on Friday, Norman pushed back against Democratic criticism that the GOP is “conditioning aid to Israel,” claiming “Democrats are saying that they prefer the IRS agents over support for Israel.”
Bolduan, however, noted that while House Republicans are insisting that the cuts to the IRS are a “pay-for,” the CBO says the bill will add more to the deficit than just unconditionally sending the aid to Israel.
“I have very little confidence in the CBO,” Norman grumbled. “They have an agenda to back up whatever view the current administration has, so I don’t go with that.”
He went on to grouse that there’s “funding set aside for 80,000 IRS agents” and that it is an “outrage” for the Democrats not to have a “pay-for” when it comes to issuing any additional aid.
Piggybacking on Norman’s no-confidence declaration about the CBO and his description of it as a pro-Biden entity, Bolduan then brought up his past support for the office’s budgetary analysis when it seemingly served his political agenda.
“I have seen you, though, tout the CBO in supporting some of your efforts in the past,” she stated. “I was looking this morning—your office put out a press release from February of this year leaning on the CBO to make your point, calling it ‘a jaw-dropping report’ coming out from the CBO reaffirming what you have said about out-of-control spending and national debt for a long time.”
“So what changed?” Bolduan bluntly asked the conservative congressman.
Norman, for his part, attempted to spin his obvious hypocrisy by quickly pivoting to complaints about “wokeness” and the supposed unwillingness of the White House to propose spending cuts.
“Well, the debt ceiling numbers—the CBO can’t manipulate,” he said. “Now, they aren’t wrong 100 percent of the time nor are they right 100 percent of the time. But what I’m saying now is, let’s take the CBO’s numbers that if it does increase the deficit. Where in the Biden administration’s plan can they have an offset?”
Norman continued: “We have $1.7 trillion deficit this year, and where under any circumstances can they come to bring themselves to have an offset? They can’t cut anything. What about the woke agenda in the military? That’s dollars that can be spent on aid to Israel, and to be honest with you, on aid to Ukraine. But they just will not do that, and they’re intent on bankrupting the country, and we are tired of it here in the House, and particularly under Mike Johnson.”