United States House of RepresentativesBy Rep. Lloyd Doggett

To those who have wondered what would be the top priority of this new Congress, now we know—deception, what some could even rightly call “tax fraud.” Today, on a largely partisan vote of 234 to 172, the House approved over my objection a new House rule that would change the way the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation estimate the budget effects of tax legislation. You can view my speech here.

To free themselves from the hard work of creating responsible, balanced budgets based on reality, Republicans are compelling this Congress, for the first time in American history, to rely upon something they call “dynamic scoring”—a mere euphemism for whimsy, speculation, and wishful thinking.

A leading Republican expert, former Senate Budget Staff Director Bill Hoagland has said, instead of this scoring gimmick, he’d “rather they just simply belly up to the bar” and “admit up front that we can’t lower rates without adding to the deficit.” They are just “making stuff up,” as the former Chief of Staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, Ed Kleinbard, recently wrote.

It is, of course, illegal to do that on a tax return. Tax fraud involves the deliberate misrepresentation or omission of data, deception by misrepresentation of material facts, and obtaining something of value from someone else through deceit. That is what this hocus pocus is really about – intentionally falsifying the impact of more Republican tax breaks.

Passing a balanced budget requires hard work, where everyone needs to lend a hand. Unfortunately, Republicans would rather use sleight of hand.