Bill that Biden says pays for itself actually adds $3 trillion to deficit, CBO warns
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, a pivotal vote for the Democrats on the bill, calls the CBO's latest cost analysis "very sobering."
President Joe Biden's sweeping spending bill, the Build Back Better Act, would add $3 trillion to deficits over 10 years if made permanent, according to a new Congressional Budget Office cost analysis.
Republicans requested the CBO analyze Biden's bill based on its policies being made permanent by Congress over 10 years, as opposed to the shorter timelines in the Treasury Department's cost analysis of the bill.
The legislation contains universal pre-K, support for child care, home health care funding, Medicaid expansion, about $550 billion for climate change initiatives and more. The bill contains tax increases on corporations and those in the top income tax bracket. It also extends the expanded child tax credit of up to $3,600 and eliminates the federal cap on state and local tax deduction.
"I very much appreciate CBO scoring Build Back Better without budget gimmicks," said South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee. "We all know that the new provisions will not sunset — they never do."
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, a pivotal vote for the Democrats on Biden's bill, called the CBO's latest analysis "very sobering."
"We're going to talk about exactly what happened on Friday with the CBO score and inflation reports and things of that sort," Manchin said, referencing his upcoming meeting with Biden.
Reacting to the CBO score, Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson referenced former President Ronald Reagan's quote about new government programs: "Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!"
Johnson said the score dispels "the lie that BBB is fully paid for and will not add a dime" to the nearly $29 trillion national debt.
"Oops, guess the Democrats forgot to tell the American people that," he said. "This latest example of Democrat governance reveals how dishonest Congressional Democrats are in trying to sell their radical far left socialist agenda to the public."
According to the Committee for a Responsible Budget, $3 trillion of new debt from the Build Back Better Act would increase debt to over 116% of Gross Domestic Product in 2031, up from 107.5 percent under current law."
Despite the CBO's findings, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi predicted that the new federal programs in the legislation will be paid for with new tax revenue.
"Congress and President Biden have made clear: any future extensions of the life-changing provisions of Build Back Better will be fully paid for, as they are today," she said. "Until then, Democrats are forging ahead with the Build Back Better Act to create jobs, lower everyday costs and cut middle-class taxes."
Schumer called the CBO score fake.
"The Republican-requested fake CBO score does not take into account the fact that President Biden and Democrats have committed that any extensions of the Build Back Better Act in the future will be fully offset, therefore ensuring BBBA will not increase the deficit," Schumer said in a statement.