Biden’s Build Back Better Bill Would Raise Deficit, CBO Estimate


WASHINGTON – Impartiality The Congressional Budget Office on Thursday released its full cost estimate for President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill, projecting the measure would add $ 160 billion to the national debt over the next decade.

The CBO reported that the measure would raise more than $ 1.2 trillion in the form of an increased IRS crackdown on tax evasion, higher taxes and other increased revenue, but that spending overarching for a myriad of social and climate priorities would come at a net cost. Covering the period from 2022 to 2031, the projection concludes that spending would exceed revenue by $ 367 billion, but that a stronger IRS application would bring in an additional $ 207 billion, leaving a deficit of about $ 160 billion. .

The release of CBO data is important to the House vote on the measure, a massive set of Democratic social spending priorities, including free kindergarten, climate change initiatives and expansion of affordable housing. Now that the estimate is out, a vote on the measure could take place as early as tonight.

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The projection of costs undermines Biden’s long-standing commitment that the bill is not only fully paid, but would reduce the deficit.

CBO is a independent, non-partisan arbiter who analyzes the budgetary impact of proposed legislation. It was established by Congress in 1974 and operates under rules and regulations established by the House and Senate budget committees.

The CBO has broken down the costs by the House committee responsible for a particular section of the bill. Some of the areas that would increase the deficit the most (and the actual amount) are education and work ($ 454.1 billion); Energy and Trade ($ 281.5 billion); Financial services ($ 150.7 billion); and judicial ($ 115.1 billion).

The CBO also predicted that the revenue generated from the increased IRS enforcement would amount to about $ 207 billion, or about half of the $ 400 billion estimated by the White House.

“The CBO’s score did not go well for this legislation,” said Oklahoma Representative Tom Cole, the top Republican on the House Rules Committee.

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Despite the CBO’s score, the administration said the bill would be paid in full. White House deputy director of communications Kate Berner said in a Tweeter the law would reduce the deficit by $ 100 billion over 10 years.

“How did we get there? The CBO estimates that BBB will add $ 367.1 billion to the deficit. This does not include revenue collected from tax enforcement. The Treasury estimates revenue from tax enforcement. taxes at $ 479.6 So… $ 112.5 billion in deficit reduction, ”Berner’s tweet read. .

The CBO score also pushed the cost of the bill over 10 years to $ 1.68 trillion. Biden and the Democrats had presented the bill as costing $ 1.85 trillion.

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But rules committee chairman James McGovern, D-Mass., Said Democrats were still working to find ways to prevent the measure from increasing the national debt.

“I think this bill will be fully paid,” he said.

House Democrats want to pass the bill Thursday and send it to the Senate, but centrists have delayed the vote on the measure because they insisted on having the CBO estimate first. Moderates worried about the scope of the bill and its potential addition to the national debt – even beyond the next decade – issues Republican challengers are expected to raise against Democratic incumbents in the midterm election next year.

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For example, the bill would increase Social Security costs by $ 121.7 billion over the next 10 years, according to the CBO. But “the budgetary effects would be significantly greater over the next decade, leading to an increase in the unified deficit totaling $ 369 billion over the period 2032-2041,” the agency said.

A group of moderates barred the legislation from being put to a vote earlier this month without the estimate (or “score”), saying it would be irresponsible to vote without it. In a letter to the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, five moderates wrote that the delay was to “ensure that the final bill is indeed fiscally responsible.”

It’s unclear how these moderates will vote on the bill now that the estimate has been released, but Democratic leaders were confident they could win them.

A recent analysis by the Non-Partisan Joint Committee on Taxation found that the Build Back Better law would generate $ 1.48 trillion in revenue over a decade and also said the plan is unlikely to increase the deficit in the long run. term.

If the House passes the bill, it will go to the Senate, where two moderate Democratic lawmakers, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, managed to get Democrats to cut the bill from its $ 3.5 trillion. initial dollars. Manchin and Sinema had not only opposed the scale of the Reconstruct en Better plan, but also certain provisions related to the energy industry, drug pricing and taxes. It is not known whether they support the version the House will adopt.

Sinema and Manchin are crucial to the bill’s final passage, as Democrats attempt to pass the legislation without any Republican support. They use a process called reconciliation, which would bypass a potential obstruction in the Senate, but would require the support of the 50 Senate Democrats, and then the decisive vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, who acts as Senate Speaker.

In the tightly divided House, the bill would fail if more than three Democrats break the rans and oppose the bill.

Contribution: Associated Press


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