Two prominent Republican senators asked the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Friday to lay out what they called the “true cost” of the massive social spending plan Democrats and the Biden administration are attempting to ram through Congress.
“We are concerned that the bill is currently being drafted behind closed doors in order to avoid making estimates available,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Budget Committee ranking member Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wrote in their letter to CBO Director Phillip Swagel, which was obtained by Fox News.
McConnell and Graham asked Swagel: “How long would it take CBO to produce a formal cost estimate with detailed analysis of the direct spending and revenue effects of each section, a description of mandates … imposed and related costs by the legislative proposal, and detailed information on federal costs subject to future appropriations?”
The letter goes on to accuse Democrats of attempting to limit debate on the legislation and notes that “only four of the thirteen House authorizing committees’ reported reconciliation recommendations have received written cost estimates.”
The letter follows claims by President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that the spending plan, known as the Build Back Better Act, has a cost of “zero dollars,” as the president put it on Twitter last weekend.
“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 claimed.
Republicans took to Twitter to accuse the president of lying, and even a few of Biden’s supporters acknowledged that the plan would come at a cost.
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 28 percent, hiking the capital gains tax rate from 20 percent to 25 percent, and increasing the top individual income tax rate from 37 percent to 39.6 percent.
Critics have argued that such increased tax burdens would fall on individuals as well as small and medium-sized businesses, rather than the large companies targeted by such legislation.
The final price tag on the legislation is not known, but progressives acknowledged Friday that it would be lower than their topline figure of $3.5 trillion.