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CBO to release Build Back Better cost estimates piecemeal

CBO to release Build Back Better cost estimates piecemeal
Congressional Budget Office Director Philip Swagel on Tuesday said the office will release cost estimates for portions of the Build Back Better Act piece by piece but will release the full estimate "as soon as practicable." File Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE

Nov. 9 (UPI) -- The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday said estimates on the cost of the Build Back Better social spending bill are likely to be released piece by piece.

CBO Director Philip Swagel said the office will begin releasing estimates for portions of the bill as they are completed beginning as early as this week after Democrats reached a deal to hold a vote on the measure.

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"The analysis of the bill's many provisions is complicated and CBO will provide a cost estimate for the entire bill as soon as practicable," Swagel wrote in a blog post on the CBO website.

Swagel said the office would provide advanced notice on when the full estimate for the bill would be released, but the timing could delay plans to hold a vote on the measure before Thanksgiving.

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Tuesday's statement comes after a group of five moderate Democrats including Reps. Ed Case, D-Hawaii; Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., Stephanie Murray, D-Fla., Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y.; and Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., struck a deal with progressives to allow a vote on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill in exchange for pledging to "remain committed to working to resolve any discrepancies in order to pass Build Back Better legislation," provided its CBO score is consistent with the White House framework.

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"We commit to voting for the Build Back Better Act, in its current form other than technical changes, as expeditiously as we receive fiscal information from the Congressional Budget Office -- but in no event later than the week of Nov. 15," the group said in a statement.

The social spending bill originally carried a price tag of $3.5 trillion, prompting objections from Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., prompting major portions of the bill to be cut.

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Last week, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Democrats had reached a deal to lower prescription drug costs, especially for seniors, as part of the revamped bill.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Monday said the Biden administration would also continue to fight to provide paid family leave after a four-week version of the provision had been added back into the deal but Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., continued to voice skepticism about its inclusion.

Both Manchin and Sinema have opposed portions of the Build Back Better Act and its overall cost and both of their votes would be necessary to pass the measure through budget reconciliation.

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a news conference on her first day back after being under COVID quarantine, at the White House on Friday. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo

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