CBO Gives Estimate on Deficit Increase From Build Back Better

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) release a report Thursday estimating the total deficit increase that would result from the passage of President Joe Biden's Build Back Better legislation.

The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on the measure Thursday night. The budget office's analysis, often called the CBO score, stated that if the bill were to pass, it would result in a net deficit increase of $367 billion from 2022 to 2031.

This price tag is not counting any potential revenue that may be accrued from tax enforcement or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Passage of the bill, then, would add to a United States total deficit that totaled approximately $2.77 trillion for the 2021 fiscal year.

This estimate was revealed just one day after the CBO published additional numbers on the Build Back Better package, which outlined other key prices on the bill. This includes an estimated $1.63 trillion in spending, while tax code changes would generate over $1.26 trillion in revenue.

This is not quite as high as the income first outlined by the Joint Committee on Taxation, as that body estimated revenue at $1.48 trillion. This figure, however, did not include the possibility of additional profits from tightening IRS restrictions on the extremely wealthy.

The revenue stream from increased taxation on billionaires could have the potential to create an additional $207 billion in revenue, according to the CBO.

U.S. Capitol Stock Picture
The CBO has given an estimate of the deficit increase that would occur from President Biden's Build Back Better plan. The rotunda of the U.S. Capitol building is seen above in this undated stock photo. iStock/Getty

This would be a net increase in tax revenue of $127 billion, not nearly as much as the president has claimed in previous statements.

Democrats have proposed an $80 billion bump in funding for the IRS in order to help the agency carry out these tax code changes. The U.S. Treasury Department has reportedly estimated that these implementations could raise $400 billion over ten years, which would make it the greatest cash-generator in the Build Back Better build.

News of the deficit price estimate comes amidst a battle in the House, as Democrats led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seek to pass the bill quickly in the wake of President Biden signing his $1.2 trillion infrastructure legislation Monday.

Despite the estimate, the White House stated that it already had a contingency in place for the CBO's number, and said that the office's deficit increase did not represent the actual figure.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Gates told reporters Wednesday that "there has been wide agreement on the part of everyone involved—moderates, liberals, et cetera—that CBO does not have experience analyzing revenue amounts gained from cracking down on wealthy tax cheats who are taking advantage of every honest taxpayer."

While the White House remains confident in the passage of the bill, Pelosi admitted that, even if the House does pass Build Back Better as it stands now, the package passed by the Senate would likely be different.

Pelosi added, however, that no matter what version of the legislation passes, it has the potential to be "transformative and historic" for all Americans.

New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Thursday that she had voted "no" on the president's infrastructure initiative in order to minimize the stonewalling and ensure a speedy vote on the Build Back Better agenda.

The House of Representatives is set to vote on the Build Back Better legislation late Thursday, with the final tally estimated to come between 9:30 and 10 p.m. ET.

Newsweek reached out to Speaker Pelosi's office for comment.

Update 11/18/2021, 7:30 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional information.