CBO Says ‘Build Back Better’ Plan Adds to Deficit, Jeopardizing Passage

(The Center Square) The Congressional Budget Office released an official cost estimate for President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan and reported that the plan will increase the deficit, contrary to the administration’s previous claims. 

“CBO estimates that enacting this legislation would result in a net increase in the deficit totaling $367 billion over the 2022-2031 period, not counting any additional revenue that may be generated by additional funding for tax enforcement,” the group said.

Adding to the deficit could prove a major obstacle for the $1.8 trillion bill’s passage. Several Congressional Democrats had demanded a CBO estimate before pledging their vote for the plan. Now, Democratic leadership has to wrangle those votes or cut spending, though removing certain spending items could upset other Democrats.

The Biden administration has argued that beefing up IRS enforcement will generate enough revenue to close that gap, but the CBO disputed that claim, estimating a smaller figure.

The Treasury Department and CBO have released conflicting figures on how much revenue IRS enforcement will raise, though the CBO is considered a nonpartisan group.

“Lawmakers have repeatedly pledged that Build Back Better would not add to the deficit, and they should stick to that praiseworthy pledge,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

“In light of what CBO says, this means they need to find another $160 billion in offsets or reductions to the size of the bill. They should also drop the arbitrary sunsets and gimmicky SALT-related offsets. At an absolute minimum, they should make a credible commitment not to extend any parts of the bill without paying for them as well.”