CBO indicates lawmakers will have to wait for full score on social spending

An official from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) signaled Tuesday that lawmakers would have to wait for a full score on House Democrats’ social spending bill, noting that the estimates on parts of the legislation may come out piecemeal. 

CBO Director Phillip Swagel said that the office will start releasing estimates of portions of the social spending bill this week, and that a cost estimate of the full bill will come out “as soon as practicable.”

“The analysis of the bill’s many provisions is complicated, and CBO will provide a cost estimate for the entire bill as soon as practicable,” Swagel said in a blog post on CBO’s website.

The comments come as a small group of moderate House Democrats have sought information about the cost of the bill from CBO prior to voting on the package, which contains a slew of the party’s priorities. 

Moderates and progressives struck a deal on Friday that allowed the House to take a procedural vote on the spending bill as well as to pass a Senate-approved bipartisan infrastructure bill.

As part of the deal, five House moderates released a statement saying that they are committed to voting for the spending bill “as expeditiously as we receive fiscal information from the Congressional Budget Office – but in no event later than the week of November 15th.” 

The lawmakers who issued the statement included: Reps. Ed Case (D-Hawaii), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore). Their statement does not specify how much information they need from CBO prior to a vote.

CBO said that it expects to release estimates of various sections of the bill as they are completed, and that some of the section-specific estimates will be unveiled this week. But estimates of other sections could take a longer period of time, “particularly for provisions in some titles that interact with those in other titles,” Swagel said.

The social-spending package touches on a wide range of issues, including child care, health care and climate, and is financed primarily through tax increases on high-income individuals and corporations. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) last week estimated that the tax-increase provisions would raise about $1.5 trillion over 10 years.

Swagel added that CBO would give advance notice when it determines the date when it will release a cost estimate for the full bill.

Tags budget reconciliation bill Congressional Budget Office Ed Case Josh Gottheimer Kathleen Rice Kurt Schrader social spending bill Stephanie Murphy

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