On a night that produced the longest partial lunar eclipse in 581 years, the House moved closer to making history of its own with the imminent passage of the Build Back Better (BBB) bill. This behemoth of a package, supported by Democrats but opposed by Republicans, pours $1.75 trillion into everything from education to healthcare to fighting climate change.
The bill is poised to pass today. Democrats had been waiting on a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a nonpartisan agency that crunches the numbers on major pieces of legislation to determine how much they would cost. Some Dems refused to vote on the bill until the CBO report was released—and it was released yesterday.
So how much will BBB cost?
The CBO said that Build Back Better will add $367 billion to the federal deficit over a decade, indicating that the bill isn’t fully paid for by initiatives to boost revenue. However, in its bottom line the CBO did not include one of those initiatives—a plan to give the IRS more resources to enforce tax collection.
- The CBO estimates that ramped up IRS enforcement will bring in an additional $207 billion in revenue.
- The Treasury thinks that’s an understatement. Its estimates show that an IRS crackdown on tax evaders would bring in at least $400 billion in revenue.
Big picture: For a bill that checks off so much on Democrats’ wish list—such as universal pre-K, expanding Medicare and Medicaid, and extending the enhanced child tax credit—the CBO score is certainly one they can stomach.
What happens next?
Once BBB is passed by the House, it’ll head to the Senate, where Democrats have a razor-thin majority. Expect lawmakers to take a fat Sharpie to the legislation in order to gain support from moderate Dems in the chamber.
Bottom line: With the $1 trillion infrastructure bill signed into law on Monday, Biden’s economic agenda is set up for a huge week.—NF