The Slatest

GOP Taps Top George W. Bush Economist to Head Congressional Budget Office

Keith Hall.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Keith Hall, the former chief of George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers, will take over as head of the Congressional Budget Office after being named Friday by Republican leaders to replace Doug Elmendorf, who has held the job since 2009.

Hall’s selection could advance the GOP’s plans to secure more favorable CBO reports on conservative tax cut legislation; Republicans recently passed rules to compel the CBO to use “dynamic scoring,” which relies on the assumption that reducing tax rates creates enough increased economic activity to prevent a drop in revenue, in its accounting. The Obama administration and others have been critical of the approach, with the head of the White House Office of Management and Budget warning in January that dynamic scoring could “upend the level playing field that has existed for decades, and could call into question the accuracy, consistency, and fairness” of CBO evaluations.

Hall’s support for dynamic scoring, opposition to minimum-wage increases, and reservations about the Affordable Care Act have earned him a reputation as a conservative, but he has not served exclusively in Republican administrations. He led the Bureau of Labor Statistics during President Obama’s first term and he is currently the chief economist for the International Trade Commission.