RNC Chair Alleges, Without Proof, White House Took CBO to "Woodshed" to Get Better Health Care Budget Numbers

Republican National Committee Chairman today accused the Obama White House of taking the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office(CBO) "to the woodshed" to extract rosy cost-savings projections for the Senate health care reform bill.

"They're trying to hijack our health care system, and they're using this lead pipe of the CBO to do it," Steele told Fox News. "The CBO itself came out originally talking about what this was going to cost, they thought it was too much .They thought it increased the deficit. The president calls them down to the White House, takes them to the woodshed, and all of a sudden they're getting these numbers that fall right within the framework of what they're trying to do."

President Obama touted the CBO cost savings projections at the White House today.

"For all those who are continually carping about how this is somehow a big spending government bill, this cuts our deficit by $132 billion the first 10 years and by over $1 trillion in the second," Obama said. "That argument that opponents are making against this bill does not hold water."

Steele admitted he had no proof to substantiate the accusation.

"Just call me, you know, the chairman who just sees it as it is," Steele said. "But the reality of it is, CBO was coming out and was very strong on what these plans were gonna cost. For the first time, unprecedented, to you know, to be called into the White House to talk about what, we don't know. And then all of a sudden, you know, these numbers are coming in line. So the reality for me is, I don't know what to trust here. We don't know what to trust."

President Obama met July 21 with CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf and other economists at the White House. Elmendorf was asked to explain how CBO arrived at some of its health care cost estimates. Days before, Elmendorf blistered the health care proposals before Congress, testifying they lacked adequate cost-containment measures.

Elmendorf blogged twice about the Obama  meeting, first on the day it occurred and on July 23.

The Obama-Elmendorf meeting spawned some editorial criticism, which the White House labeled "unfortunate."

The White House and CBO declined to respond to Steele's accusation.