President Donald Trump's budget director Mick Mulvaney was quick to pass the buck when he trashed the "score" the Congressional Budget Office released for Trumpcare.
"At some point, you've got to ask yourself, has the day of the CBO come and gone?" Mulvaney said. "How much power do we give to the CBO under the 1974 Budget Act?"
Mulvaney attacked the head of the CBO's health analysis division Holly Harvey, saying that she served in the Clinton administration. The implication was that somehow her numbers were political and not math.
His comments prompted outrage and criticism from fellow Republican leaders as well as former CBO directors and staff.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, CBO director from 2003 to 2005, was among the first to demand an apology. He said that Mulvaney's words were a "disgrace" that showed "budget ignorance."
Friday, Mulvaney apologized but then reiterated his implication that the numbers being generated are through a partisan lens.
"I'd like to apologize," he said. "Within any organization, the buck should stop at the top. At CBO, that means the Director, not individual civil servants. It is the Director who bears the ultimate responsibility for reports delivered by the non-partisan organization. That said, the larger point is this: it should be and is far to challenge the results that were assumed by the concealed model the CBO used to "score" the most recent version of the House AHCA bill."
He went on to blame the CBO for incorrect numbers given for the Affordable Care Act. As a fact check, the CBO scores were not "way off," as once claimed. However, their numbers were not exact because they did not factor in the GOP obstruction of the legislation's implication, the lawsuits and the states opting out.
"The Congressional Budget Office has been given tremendous authority memorialized in statue -- that few other bureaucracies have," Mulvaney continued. "With that comes tremendous responsibilities. One of those is established, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that the results produced by the nonpartisan CBO are, in fact, non-partisan and not colored by the personal biases of those producing the results."