Finance

CBO to release full estimate of Biden spending plan Thursday

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The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says it will be publishing its full cost estimate of President Biden’s sweeping social spending plan later on Thursday.

So far, the nonpartisan budget scorekeeper has published estimates for 11 of the 13 individual titles of the legislation. Phillip Swagel, who heads the office, said it will “publish estimates for the remaining two titles this afternoon.”

“The complete estimate will be published when the estimate for the last remaining title is posted,” he added.

The long-awaited analysis comes as House Democrats have delayed passage on the massive trillion-dollar spending plan in recent weeks amid pushback from moderates demanding fiscal information on the bill.

But Democratic leaders on Thursday said they were hoping to hold a vote as early as today.

The bill, a cornerstone of Biden’s economic agenda, includes funding for affordable housing, health care expansions and universal pre-K for children ages 3 to 4, among a host of other proposals.

Democrats hope to pass the partisan plan using a process called budget reconciliation, which will allow them to approve the measure in the evenly-split Senate with a simple majority, and bypass a likely GOP filibuster.

No Republicans are expected to vote for the bill, which means Democrats can only afford three defections in the House and zero in the 50-50 Senate to pass the bill. 

Party leaders had previously sought to pass the bill in the lower chamber earlier this month, but pumped the brakes after a group of five House moderates called for a brief pause in a joint statement, pending estimates of the bill’s sections released by the CBO.

Key moderates have signaled they’re comfortable with the estimates released so far.

“I’ve been able to review those and I’m comfortable with what I’ve seen so far,” Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), one of the five moderates who signed onto the joint statement to leadership, told reporters on Thursday afternoon.

But Murphy wouldn’t say when asked whether she planned to vote on the package if it’s brought to the floor later in the day.

“I haven’t seen all of the CBO estimates. So I’m not prepared to answer your question,” she told reporters.

Still, many Democrats remain optimistic about the chances the bill will pass in the evening.

“I think the minute that we have that CBO score, we should take the matter right to the floor,” Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass) told The Hill.

—Updated at 2:51 p.m.

Tags Build Back Better CBO Joe Biden Richard Neal Stephanie Murphy
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