Overnight Finance

On The Money — Budget analysts caught in a partisan firefight

The U.S. Capitol is seen from the East Front Plaza on Tuesday, October 12, 2021.
Greg Nash

Happy Friday and welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

Today’s Big Deal: Congress’s nonpartisan scorekeepers are at the center of the fight over President Biden’s economic agenda. We’ll also look at pressure from Biden to pass government funding bills and why more Americans are quitting their jobs than ever.

But first, White House press secretary Jen Psaki has some strong words for Aaron Rodgers.

For The Hill, we’re Sylvan Lane, Naomi Jagoda, and Aris Folley. Write us at slane@thehill.com or @SylvanLane, njagoda@thehill.com or @NJagoda and Aris Folley at afolley@thehill.com or @ArisFolley.

Let’s get to it.

Scoring agency at center of latest clash 

 

Pressure is mounting on the chief agency tasked with scoring the budgetary impact of legislation as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) crunches the numbers for a sweeping $1.75 trillion social spending and climate package that Democrats are working quickly to pass. 

Keith Hall, who served as the director of the CBO from April 2015 to May 2019, tells us the agency’s work capacity is likely at its “peak load” as they sift through the more than 2,100 pages of legislative text that comprise President Biden’s Build Back Better Act

  • If the score is above $1.75 trillion, it could give Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and other centrists a reason to oppose the measure and to push for additional cuts. Progressives have already seen their prized $3.5 trillion measure whittled in half.
  • A vote next week in the House is also connected to the CBO’s work. Moderate House Democrats have said they want more “fiscal information” from the CBO about the bill.
  • Republicans have also launched a pressure campaign targeting the proposed spending while calling for a full score for the package before it is brought to the floor.

Five House moderates said last week that they plan to vote on the bill in the days ahead if the information released by the CBO “is consistent” with White House data provided to members on the top lines for revenues and investments for the legislation.

​​No Republicans will back the bill, which means Democrats can afford just three defections from their side in the House for passage.

Aris has more here.

LEADING THE DAY

Number of Americans quitting their jobs reaches record high

The number and percentage of U.S. workers voluntarily leaving their jobs reached an all-time high in September, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.

Roughly 4.4 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in September and the “quits rate” rose to 3 percent, according to the latest edition of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) survey, each a new record. The number of job openings stayed roughly even in August at 10.4 million.

  • The surge in American workers voluntarily leaving their jobs is the latest sign of growing worker power in the recovering labor market. 
  • Both the percentage and number of working-age adults in the labor force are still well below pre-pandemic levels, giving those currently seeking jobs greater leverage and opportunities.
  • “Quits are up the most in sectors where most work is in-person or relatively low paying,” said Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed.

Sylvan has more about the data here.

UNDER PRESSURE

White House puts pressure on Congress to pass funding bills

The White House is putting some heat on Congress to strike a deal on the annual government funding bills as negotiations across the aisle have failed to make much headway in recent months.

The Office of Budget and Management (OMB) said in a fact sheet sent out on Friday that Congress must “reach a bipartisan, bicameral agreement” on full-year appropriations bills for fiscal 2022 in the weeks ahead.

The bills, the office said, will be crucial in addressing the nation’s “critical needs,” including funding to “improve readiness for future public health crises,” bolster defense readiness and modernization, provide “overdue investments in election infrastructure,” support kids in high-poverty schools and “ensure access to student loans and student aid.”

Read more here from Aris about the state of play on appropriations.

 

Good to Know 

Soaring inflation is shaking up negotiations on Capitol Hill over President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, giving Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and other centrists more leverage to push for a smaller reconciliation package.

Here’s what else have our eye on:

  • Democrats’ $1.75 trillion social spending package could cut taxes for most millionaires, according to an analysis from the Tax Policy Center released Thursday.
  • Republicans are looking at surging inflation as a winning issue as the party molds its attack lines against President Biden and down-ballot Democrats ahead of the midterms. 
  • A SpaceX mission with four astronauts docked at the International Space Station on Thursday evening.

 

Monday

  • The Bipartisan Policy Center hosts a webinar discussion with CBO Director Phill Swagel entitled “The U.S. Legislative Landscape: Implications for the American Economy” at 2 p.m.

Tuesday

  • Small Business Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman testifies before the House Small Business Committee at 10 a.m.
  • The House Financial Services Committee holds a markup of pending legislation at 10 a.m.
  • The Senate Finance Committee holds a confirmation hearing on the nominations of Maria Lago to be Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, and Lisa Wang to be an Assistant Secretary of Commerce at 10:15 a.m.

Wednesday

  • A House Ways and Means subcommittee holds a hearing on improving U.S.-Africa trade and investment ties at 11 a.m.
  • The Joint Economic Committee holds a hearing entitled “Demystifying Crypto: Digital Assets and the Role of Government” at 2:30 p.m.

Thursday

The Senate Banking and Housing Committee holds a confirmation hearing to consider the nomination of Saule Omarova to be Comptroller of the Currency at 9:30 a.m.

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you Monday.

Tags Jen Psaki Joe Biden Joe Manchin

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