House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and Oversight Republicans sent a letter to Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) slamming Committee Demcorats for presenting misleading information at a previously held markup of H.R. 564, the “Comprehensive Paid Family and Medical Leave Act.” Committee Democrats claimed that the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) cost analysis of instituting new federal employee benefits would cost taxpayers only $53 million dollars. CBO’s final analysis of H.R. 564 estimates the true cost to be over $40 billion dollars, well over the initial amount peddled by Democrats.
“You claimed at the Committee’s markup that these new benefits would inflict only a minimal cost on taxpayers. In an attempt to back up your claim, you sprang upon Republicans, without prior notice, the assertion that the Congressional Budget Office actually had assessed the costs of the proposed new benefits and found they would only cost $53 million over the next ten years,” wrote the lawmakers. “When we heard this claim, we found it impossible to believe on its face. After all, the federal workforce includes over two million workers. Postal workers number over 600,000. During the markup, we expressed our concerns about the purported CBO score’s completeness and comprehensiveness.”
Oversight Republicans protested the Majority’s failure to share the alleged score and made multiple attempts to delay consideration of the bill due to what ultimately was proven to be a wildly inaccurate representation of the bill’s costs. Despite those efforts, Democrats passed the legislation and rejected all efforts to understand the true fiscal costs of H.R. 564.
“Simply put, H.R. 564 is a bill that is out of step with our constituents’ circumstances and out of touch with reality. The Committee never should have been forced through a markup of this bill without a reasonable and open understanding of the bill’s likely costs. Had all Committee Members had a more accurate understanding of the bill’s costs during our markup, it is possible that the bill never would have been approved and ordered favorably reported. We must have honest and open debate about our bills when we solemnly consider them for approval or disapproval. Members should never be misled by incorrect representations of a bill’s costs,” concluded the lawmakers.