Tim KorsoAll materialsWrite to the authorPreviously, the US Chamber of Commerce, a business advocacy group, warned lawmakers that the preliminary evaluation of the reconciliation bill’s costs might be inaccurate – the real cost may be almost twice as big as that declared because of “gimmicks” in the bill’s text.The US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is scrambling to conduct a full evaluation of the budgetary impact of the second of Biden’s key spending initiatives – the Build Back Better bill. The office, which is responsible for determining with a certain precision what the cost of the bill will be has to comb through around 2,100 pages of the text and confirm that the bill will not go beyond the planned $1.75 trillion which has been passed and implemented.If, however, the CBO rules that the bill’s implementation will cost substantially more, it would create significant problems for Democrats and US President Joe Biden himself who’s pinning most of his hopes on this piece of legislation to restore his dwindling popularity. Unlike the recently passed infrastructure bill, the Build Back Better plan sparked harsh debates within the Democratic Party itself with the moderate (or “normal”, as they call themselves) wing demanding spending to be slashed and refusing to vote for it otherwise.
New, ‘Normal’: Are Moderate Democrats Trying to ‘Rebrand’ Themselves?10 November, 11:09 GMTThe Build Back Better plan was thus halved from $3.5 trillion to a projected $1.75 trillion. In this form, the Democrats can pass the bill under the so-called budget reconciliation process, which allows overcoming the Republicans’ filibuster. But, should the CBO rule the bill costs more, and the recent letter by the US Chamber of Commerce suggests it might, it will prompt another wave of demands by the moderates to cut down some of the programmes further sowing disagreements with the progressives.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cherished hopes of holding a vote on the bill next week, but by that time it’s likely that the CBO will only have calculations for certain sections of the bill, but not the entire “score”.
"Other estimates will take longer, particularly for provisions in some titles that interact with those in other titles. When we determine a release date for the cost estimate for the entire bill, we will provide advance notice," CBO Director Phillip Swagel said.
Many moderate Democrats already warned that they will not vote on the bill without the full conclusion from the CBO, which may take weeks to be compiled, although five House moderate Democrats have pledged to vote for the bill next week if the CBO’s information is consistent with the estimates provided by the White House.
US Chamber of Commerce Slams Democrats’ Reconciliation Budget Bill for Hiding Its True Cost11 November, 18:28 GMTThe Democrats can’t count on the GOP votes either, since the opposing party harshly criticised rampant spending – even when presented with the severely truncated $1.75 trillion cost. In October, they reluctantly passed a motion to temporarily raise the national debt ceiling as the threat loomed of the US hitting it after Biden’s pandemic-related spending spree. If this had not been achieved, Washington would have had to default on its financial obligations.