CBO KEEPS TELLING THE GOP WHAT IT DOESN’T WANT TO HEAR…. For a group of officials who insist deficit reduction is their top priority, they have an odd habit of embracing an agenda that would make the deficit worse.

A Republican plan to withhold implementation funds for the Democrats’ new healthcare law would add $5.7 billion to the deficit over 10 years, the nonpartisan congressional scorekeeper said Thursday.

In a long-term spending bill approved last month, House Republicans voted to block the federal government from using funds to implement the sweeping reform law, enacted almost a year ago. The defunding vote has become a point of contention as Republicans and Democrats try to hammer out a long-term spending measure to keep the government running past March 18.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Thursday that choking off implementation funds would cut the deficit by $1.6 billion for the rest of the year, but it would increase spending by $3.1 billion in 2012 and by smaller amounts each year through 2021.

The CBO’s analysis comes on the heels of word from the Department of Health and Human Services that choking off implementation funds would also prevent Medicare from paying benefits for millions of seniors — a result Republicans claim to want to avoid.

But under the circumstances, it’s the effect on the budget that really stands out. Republicans first wanted to repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, which would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit, which was followed by a plan to reject funding for implementation, which we now see would also make the deficit worse.

I realize there’s no real connection between reality and Republican rhetoric, but it’s hard to overlook the disconnect — the congressional GOP, overcome by an irrational hatred of a fairly moderate health care reform package, has left itself with an agenda that’s as twisted as a pretzel, trying to lower the deficit by making it worse for no real reason.

What’s more, it’s in keeping with a trend of the Congressional Budget Office constantly bothering Republicans with inconvenient facts.

There’s a reason the GOP has decided independent cost analyses of their priorities no longer count, and the objective referee needs to be discredited.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.