CBO to Congress: Full Score of Social Spending Bill Will Take Time

The Congressional Budget Office told lawmakers on Tuesday that they’ll have to wait to see the full analysis of the roughly $1.8 trillion Build Back Better bill.

In a brief statement, Director Phillip L. Swagel said that the CBO would release parts of its analysis as they become available, with some arriving as soon as this week, but the full analysis will take some time.

“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. “When we determine a release date for the cost estimate for the entire bill, we will provide advance notice.”

A commitment to vote: Late last week, in a move that unlocked progressive support for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, a small number of moderate Democrats in the House pledged to vote for the Build Back Better bill once the CBO provided a score that backs up the White House claim that the legislation is fully offset by tax hikes and other revenue sources.

“We commit to voting for the Build Back Better Act, in its current form other than technical changes, as expeditiously as we receive fiscal information from the Congressional Budget Office – but in no event later than the week of November 15th,” five of the moderates – Reps. Ed Case (HI), Josh Gottheimer (NJ), Stephanie Murphy (FL), Kurt Schrader (OR) and Kathleen Rice (NY) – said in a statement Friday.

The CBO statement Tuesday raises questions about whether Democrats will be able to stick to that schedule. House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) said last week that he expects the CBO score to take as long as two weeks, potentially pushing a House vote into the week of November 22 at the earliest.

Still, House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Tuesday that she plans to stick to the current schedule. “Yes we intend – that is our plan – to pass the bill the week of Nov. 15 as was indicated in our statements that were made at the time of passing the infrastructure bill,” Pelosi said while attending the COP26 climate summit in Scotland.

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