Politics

Democrats accuse Republicans of using ‘fake’ math to sway Manchin to vote against Biden agenda

The Congressional Budget Office on Friday released a new analysis of House Democrats’ Build Back Better Act, finding that if most provisions in the legislation were made permanent, the social spending and climate plan would increase the deficit by $2.75 trillion over 10 years, or $3 trillion including interest costs.

The CBO’s new analysis, requested by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO), looks at the cost of the plan if temporary provisions were made permanent — without being paid for. The gross cost would roughly double, rising from $2.4 trillion to more than $4.7 trillion. The expanded child tax credit, which costs $185 billion for one year in the official score of the bill, would cost $1.6 trillion if extended over the entire decade [Yahoo News].

But Democrats and the White House claimed that the analysis amounted to little more than “fake” math since it analyzed a hypothetical bill that wasn’t on the table. They also pledged to finance any extension with tax increases.

“The Republicans are so desperate to justify their opposition to the popular, much-needed provisions in the Build Back Better Act that they’ve resorted to requesting fake scores based on mistruths,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a Friday statement.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi derided it as a “phony score,” adding that Democrats would pay for any future legislation. That language was mirrored by White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who called it “a fake CBO score.”

The CBO score came after the Labor Department reported consumer prices rose 6.8% in November compared to a year ago, reflecting ongoing supply-chain troubles and strong consumer demand. It’s the highest inflation reading since 39 years ago, when Ronald Reagan sat in the Oval Office, and Republicans pounced.

“The one two-punch of the CBO score, showing the bill to be much more expensive, and record high inflation after 40 years, I think will give Sen. Manchin great pause,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said at a press conference on Friday, adding that he spoke to the West Virginia lawmaker as well.

“He was stunned,” Graham said, referring to Manchin. “I think he felt vindicated in that his concerns were legitimate.” Manchin has said he’s alarmed about the prospect of runaway inflation, and Friday’s government report could spell trouble for Democrats trying to pass the spending bill within 15 days and avoid a sudden lapse of monthly child tax credit payments next month.

Biden said Friday he didn’t know whether he could get Manchin’s vote on the bill, adding that the pair planned to speak early next week [Business Insider].

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: BUSINESS INSIDER

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