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Budget watchdogs project Dem infrastructure plans to cost up to $5.5T — $2T more than advertised

Democrats in Congress have estimated that the reconciliation bill that includes Biden's agenda items such as universal pre-K, tuition-free community college and financial support for childcare will cost $3.5 trillion.

Updated: July 24, 2021 - 10:42pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has estimated that President Biden's infrastructure proposals will cost up to $2 trillion more than Democrats are projecting.

The White House and Democratic congressional leaders are preparing a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that includes policies in Biden's Build Back Better agenda such as universal pre-K, tuition-free community college and financial support for childcare. Democrats have referred to the reconciliation bill has a "human infrastructure" budget bill. It could also include the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have said they won't pass a separate, bipartisan $1.2 trillion physical infrastructure framework until a filibuster-proof reconciliation spending bill gets passed.

Marc Goldwein, senior vice president and senior policy director for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told Just the News that his organization has estimated that the reconciliation package will cost much more than $3.5 trillion over 10 years based on the proposed policies that have been released so far.

"It seems like they're going to have a bunch of policies that go for not the full 10 years and expire early," he said. "We've estimated that the reconciliation bill is actually more like $5-5.5 trillion worth of policies and they are fitting into a $3.5 trillion framework by cutting it off early."

The CRFB estimates that "the policies under consideration could cost between $5 trillion and $5.5 trillion over a decade, assuming they are made permanent," said Goldwein. "In order to fit these proposals within a $3.5 trillion budget target, lawmakers apparently intend to have some policies expire before the end of the ten-year budget window, using this oft-criticized budget gimmick to hide their true cost."

According to the CRFB's analysis, the actual cost of the proposals will "ultimately depend heavily on details that have yet to be revealed."

The bipartisan framework and the Build Back Better reconciliation bill have not been drafted into formal legislative language at this time. 

 

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