CongressDaily's mysterious "sources" don't include committee communications staff

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

CongressDaily reported yesterday: "CBO has scored the House healthcare overhaul bill at $1.5 trillion over 10 years, according to sources. House Ways and Means Democrats plan to help pay for the bill by raising taxes on people earning $250,000 or more and taxing sugary beverages, sources said."

Uh ... ok. What "sources"? Absent any further description -- Democratic sources? Republican sources? Ways and Means Committee sources? Some guy yelling at the clouds outside of Metro Center? -- this is a completely useless description.

CongressDaily may as well have attributed the information to "some guy." That would have been exactly as transparent and informative. Only nobody would take seriously a report that says "CBO has scored the health care bill at $1.5 trillion, according to some guy." So they fancy it up by changing "some guy" to "sources." But that doesn't give you any more reason to take it seriously -- you have no ability to assess the "sources'" credibility or motives based on CongressDaily's description.

And, sure enough, The Huffington Post's Jeff Muskus reported a little later that the CongressDaily report was wrong -- and Muskus attributed his report to an actual person, with an actual name. And to another source, with some descriptive information:

The Congressional Budget Office has not scored the House health care reform proposal, despite reports that it had estimated the plan would cost taxpayers upwards of $1.5 trillion, Melissa Merson, a CBO spokeswoman, told the Huffington Post.

CongressDaily reported earlier Tuesday that the package had been scored -- legislative lingo for a cost estimate -- at a figure that would make passage of the House bill in the Senate difficult.

The report caused a stir on the Hill and stoked fears of a setback.

"THERE. IS. NO. SCORE," e-mailed one frustrated committee aide.

Really makes you wonder about that CongressDaily "source," doesn't it? But wait! Muskus has more:

The Press Offices of the House Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce and Education and Labor Committees released the following statement today in response to an inaccurate report published in CongressDaily asserting that the House Tri-Committee health care reform legislation has been scored by the Congressional Budget Office:

"This report is premature and entirely fabricated. In fact, none of the reporters working on this piece contacted our press offices to fact check their story. The three House committees are still working to develop legislation and have not yet received a score from CBO on the discussion draft. As the three chairmen have made clear, our health care reform legislation will be paid for and we're still considering revenue options."

So, CongressDaily didn't bother to contact the communications staffs of the relevant committees; they just ran with a "report" based on who-knows-what, with no transparency, giving readers no ability to assess the credibility of the report -- and no reason to trust it.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
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