The Build Back Better Act will add $367 billion to the national debt over ten years, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced Thursday.
The CBO’s final report, published as the House of Representatives begins another round of debate over the social spending package, affirms the thinking of economists who have pushed back on the Biden administration’s claim that the bill will be “fully paid for.”
The non-partisan agency’s top-line number does not include potential revenue from increased tax enforcement, which could lower the debt impact by up to $207 billion over the ten-year period. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced in a Dear Colleague letter that the House would vote on the reconciliation bill as soon as the CBO released its final analysis.
CBO estimates enacting H.R. 5376, the Build Back Better Act, would result in a net increase in the deficit of $367 billion over the 2022-2031 period, not counting additional revenue that may be generated by additional funding for tax enforcement. https://t.co/cMEHAFqiu4
— U.S. CBO (@USCBO) November 18, 2021
The most expensive provisions in the package are a tax credit for daycare and early childhood education, which will cost more than $273 billion, and provisions labeled “social safety net,” including a child tax credit and an expansion of Obamacare, which will cost more than $268 billion.
The report is a blow to several prominent Democrats, including Biden, Pelosi, and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, all of whom claimed that offsetting provisions, such as a minimum corporate tax of 15%, funding for the IRS to recover missed taxes and a new surtax on multi-millionaires and billionaires, would prevent Build Back Better from adding to the national debt. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: ‘Par For The Course’: Former CBO Director Says White House Attacks On Report Are Classic Partisan Pushback)
Sunset provisions included in the Build Back Better Act prevent some of the programs from being counted through the full ten-year analysis, a policy choice Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin derided as a “shell game.” If those provisions, including the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, are made permanent, the package could add up to $2.5 trillion to the national debt, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
However, the CBO does not issue a score projecting the permanence of the sunset provisions, CRFB Senior Policy Director Marc Goldwein told the Daily Caller, leading lawmakers to see the smaller number.