President Biden was slammed over the weekend and Monday after claiming his Build Back Better agenda “costs zero dollars” in a Saturday tweet.
“My Build Back Better Agenda costs zero dollars,” the president tweeted from his official account. “Instead of wasting money on tax breaks, loopholes and tax evasion for big corporations and the wealthy, we can make a once-in-a-generation investment in working America. And it adds zero dollars to the national debt.”
Biden’s agenda is looking to be funded by a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that contains funding for the climate, family leave, education and expansion of the social safety net. The spending bill has become a point of contention in Congress as Democrats battle over when to vote on the bill and its overall price tag.
Republicans took to Twitter over the weekend, calling Biden’s claim a “lie.”
“Simple math for President Biden: $3.5 trillion does NOT equal zero,” Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) wrote, while sharing the president’s tweet.
“This is a lie,” the GOP’s House Judiciary’s Twitter account flat-out accused.
Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) reiterated that sentiment, calling the claim false.
“This is completely false. The largest spending spree in government history will cost ‘zero dollars’? That defies logic and basic math. Alongside massive tax increases, it will add trillions to the debt. Peddling false narratives won’t change those facts.”
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) questioned whether the president understood the price tag of the spending bill.
“Biden thinks his $3.5 trillion reckless spending plan ‘costs zero dollars’? He is very confused,” Cotton wrote.
Even supporters of the president’s agenda noted that it does not come without a cost.
“I strongly support the new infrastructure plan. It is not costless,” American political scientist Ian Bremmer tweeted.
As Congress continues its debate on when to vote on the package, the Biden administration has repeatedly said the $3.5 trillion spending legislation will not cost anything.
Earlier this month, White House chief of staff Ron Klain said in front of an audience of Wall Street titans that the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending bonanza would “cost zero.”
“We have found a way to pay for every part of the spending with taxes,” Klain said in front of an audience of financial industry poohbahs at the annual SALT conference in New York. “The net cost of ‘Build Back Better’ is zero,” he said of the White House’s plan.
Democrats and the White House have proposed paying for the spending bill through an IRS crackdown involving ramped-up audits of American taxpayers and by raising taxes on higher incomes and businesses, such as raising the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 26.5 percent, hiking the capital gains tax rate from 20 percent to 25 percent, and increasing the top individual income tax rate rate from 37 percent to 39.6 percent.
Despite that, the Democratic Party is facing an internal battle over the legislation’s price tag as moderate members like Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Krysten Sinema of Arizona have said they will not support a $3.5 trillion bill.
Manchin has suggested he won’t support a bill larger than $1.5 trillion. Manchin has also said he wouldn’t approve a corporate tax rate that exceeds 25 percent.