The Build Back Better bill has been the subject of much controversy in recent months, with even some moderate Democrats saying they would need to see scoring from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) before deciding how to vote, and now that such an analysis has been released, it has been confirmed – contrary to President Joe Biden’s assertions – that the package could add $367 billion to the federal deficit.
As the New York Post reports, Biden has been promoting the massive social spending bill by claiming that its myriad of new entitlements and liberal wish list items would not raise the deficit by a single penny, an extremely spurious argument that was seriously undermined by the CBO’s review and estimates of the plan’s true cost.
Though in the past, Biden has described CBO scoring reports as the “gold standard,” it seems unlikely he was too pleased with the outcome of their review process this time around, a fact on which White House press secretary Jen Psaki was questioned during a press briefing on Friday.
Psaki doubled down on the assertion that the legislation’s provisions were fully paid for, prompting Fox News’ Peter Doocy to ask, “Is the president going to stop saying the Build Back Better plan does not increase the deficit one single cent? We know that’s not true,” referring to the CBO report.
Ever defiant in the face of tough questioning, Psaki said, “It is true,” and added that the CBO lacks experience when it comes to scoring the potential impact of increased IRS enforcement efforts, a key element of the plan.
Not content to let Psaki skate on the matter, Doocy reminded her of comments she made during the tenure of former President Donald Trump in which she tweeted, “Watching [Trump Office of Management and Budget director Mick] Mulvaney try to walk away from CBO score and explain budget outline is awkward and uncomfortable to watch.”
“So what is the difference between the Trump administration saying ‘don’t listen to the CBO’ and this administration saying, ‘don’t listen to the CBO,’” wondered Doocy.
Though the House of Representatives went ahead and passed the bill on Friday morning – by a slim 220-213 margin – it has a tough road ahead in the Senate, considering that Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) have long expressed their opposition to significant portions of the measure as well as to its overall cost.
Given the Democrats’ razor-thin majority in the Senate, they will need full caucus support in the upper chamber to achieve passage of the plan in anything close to its current incarnation, something that – at least at this point – mercifully appears to be an extremely tall order.