Budget

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

Bonnie Cash

Rep. John Yarmuth (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.

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 Murphy (D-Fla.), Jared Golden (D-Maine), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Ed Case (D-Hawaii). 

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

Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (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 Manchin (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.

Tags budget reconciliation budget reconciliation package Carolyn Bourdeaux cbo score Congressional Budget Office Ed Case Jared Golden Jim Costa Joe Manchin John Yarmuth Kurt Schrader social spending package Stephanie Murphy

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