Top Democrat dismisses need for budget report before House votes on spending plan

Top Democrat dismisses need for budget report before House votes on spending plan
© Bonnie Cash

Rep. John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthTexas Democrat Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson announces retirement at end of term Dems brace for score on massive Biden bill Midterm gloom grows for Democrats MORE (D-Ky.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, threw cold water on calls from moderate Democrats to hold off on passing the party's sweeping social spending package until a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is released.

“When you have most of the bill is written in a way that you know what the amount is — I mean, if you say you're gonna spend $400 billion on child care and pre-K education, that's what you're gonna spend,” Yarmuth told reporters while heading into a caucus meeting on Tuesday.

“So, you know, it's a little bit different on the revenue side, because that's more uncertain. But I think anybody who doesn't think they have a pretty good idea of the net investment of this bill is not really taking the time to look at it,” he added.

ADVERTISEMENT

Yarmuth’s comments came shortly after sources told Punchbowl News that five House moderates are pushing for a CBO score on the legislation before the bill is brought to a floor vote. They are Reps. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyFive takeaways: House passes Biden's sweeping benefits bill Overnight Energy & Environment — House passes giant climate, social policy bill House passes giant social policy and climate measure MORE (D-Fla.), Jared GoldenJared GoldenSunday shows preview: Boosters open to all US adults; House Dems pass spending plan on to Senate Five takeaways: House passes Biden's sweeping benefits bill Overnight Energy & Environment — House passes giant climate, social policy bill MORE (D-Maine), Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderFive takeaways: House passes Biden's sweeping benefits bill House passes giant social policy and climate measure Democrats press toward vote on massive Biden bill MORE (D-Ore.), Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel CostaProposed California maps put incumbents in jeopardy Democrats bullish they'll reach finish line this week Moderate Democrats press for score before vote on Biden package MORE (D-Calif.) and Ed CaseEdward (Ed) CaseMORE (D-Hawaii). 

Others have also called for more information about the costs for the spending bill.

Rep. Carolyn BourdeauxCarolyn BourdeauxConservative group targeting House Democrats over SALT positions Democrats unite to send infrastructure bill to Biden's desk Conservative group targeting moderate Democrats on spending bill votes MORE (D-Ga.) said on Monday that it would “be optimal” if the CBO score could come out before the House takes up its spending bill.

But I am willing, if I can get some numbers that I think are solid before that, I'm willing to take that into consideration,” she said.

“I know a lot of us want to make sure the numbers are nailed down and make sure that we know what's actually in the bill before we vote. So I think a lot of that can be accomplished very quickly, but remains to be seen,” Bourdeaux said.

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden faces new pressure from climate groups after Powell pick Five ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan With extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one MORE (D-W.Va.), a key centrist holdout, also appeared to warn against the bill being brought up in the House without a CBO score on Monday, calling instead for his party to "allow time for complete transparency and analysis" of the measure.

The calls could spell trouble for Democrats who were hoping to pass the spending plan as early as this week.

Yarmuth said on Monday that it could take roughly two weeks until the CBO releases its cost estimate for the spending plan, which is expected to unlock funding for a number of party-backed priorities, including affordable housing and free preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, as well as clean energy tax credits.

Democrats, who hold razor-thin majorities in the House and Senate, plan to pass the bill using a process called budget reconciliation, which will allow them to advance the legislation in the upper chamber with a simple majority, bypassing the GOP filibuster.

However, the party can only afford three defections in the House, and no defections in the evenly split Senate, to pass the bill, which is likely to fetch zero support from Republicans in either chamber.