Daily Column – 19th November 2021

On a night when the world witnessed the longest partial lunar eclipse in 581 years, the House of Representatives moved closer to making its own history by passing the Build Back Better (BBB) measure. This $1.75 trillion proposal, backed by Democrats but opposed by Republicans, invests in everything from education to healthcare to combating climate change.

Today, the law is expected to pass. Democrats had been waiting for a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a bipartisan organisation that crunches the numbers on big bills to figure out how much they’ll cost. Some Democrats said they wouldn’t vote on the plan until the CBO report was out, which was done yesterday.

So, how much will BBB set you back?

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that Build Back Better will add $367 billion to the federal deficit over ten years, implying that the bill will not be fully funded by revenue-raising measures. However, one of those initiatives—a plan to provide the IRS greater resources to enforce tax collection—was not included in the CBO’s bottom line.

According to the CBO, increased IRS enforcement will generate an additional $207 billion in revenue.
That, according to the Treasury, is an understatement. According to its projections, a crackdown on tax evaders by the IRS would generate at least $400 billion in income.
The big picture The CBO score is surely one that Democrats can stomach for a bill that boxes off so many of their wish lists, including universal pre-kindergarten, expanding Medicare and Medicaid, and extending the enhanced child tax credit.

So, what’s next?

After the House passes BBB, it will be sent to the Senate, where Democrats have a razor-thin majority. Expect lawmakers to take a fat Sharpie to the legislation in order to gain support from moderate Dems in the chamber.

Bottom line: With the $1 trillion infrastructure bill signed into law on Monday, Biden’s economic agenda is set up for a huge week.

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