House Democrats are increasingly optimistic that they will pass their social and climate spending package this week, saying they will win the support of cautious moderates who want more information on the cost of the measure before voting on it. .
House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton Hoyer This week: The House of Representatives aims to pass Biden’s spending bill as time runs out White House economic adviser is confident that Biden’s spending package will pass this week. (D-Md.) He said Tuesday that the bill will hit the floor Wednesday for debate and will receive a vote as soon as Thursday, though the schedule could slide to Friday or Saturday. The vote is expected to come after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) releases additional reports that measure the cost of the legislation.
A handful of centrists have withheld their support for the $ 1.75 trillion package as they await more “tax information” from the CBO, but have not demanded a full estimate from the official Congressional scorer.
That nuanced distinction has left both moderates and party leaders with some leeway in the debate, and key lawmakers are already signaling that they are ready to back the legislation without a final score from the CBO.
Rep. Kurt schraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt Schrader On the money: Biden tops off infrastructure week It’s time for Congress to pass the correct Medicare drug price reform CBO to release Build Back Better Score by Friday MORE (D-Ore.) He told reporters Tuesday that he doesn’t need the CBO’s full “interactive score” on the package to feel comfortable voting for the bill, although he does want to see provisional estimates.
“We are trying to be team players, but to be able to defend our vote at home,” he said.
Such concessions have prompted Democratic leaders to express growing optimism.
“It’s going to happen,” Hoyer said.
House Democrats face pressure to send the measure to the Senate quickly.
Congress is taking the next week off for Thanksgiving, and lawmakers have a number of other issues they will need to address after the holidays, including funding from federal agencies and lifting the debt limit.
The White House contends that spending and tax cuts are fully offset, through tax increases for the wealthy and corporations, increased funding for the IRS to focus on tax traps, and new savings in federal tax programs. prescription drugs.
Moderate Democrats want to see if the CBO agrees with the White House’s claims. Five moderates: Schrader and Reps. Ed caseEdward (Ed) CaseMORE (Hawaii), Josh gottheimerJoshua (Josh) Gottheimer On the money – Biden closes CBO infrastructure week to release Build Back Better Score by Friday Democrats hope to approve .75T Biden package this week MORE (NEW JERSEY), Stephanie murphyStephanie Murphy On The Money – Biden Closes CBO Infrastructure Week to Release Build Back Better Score by Friday Group Aligned with GOP House Leadership Targeting Nine Democrats on Vote Spending MORE (Fla.) And Kathleen RiceKathleen Maura Rice On The Money – Biden Closes CBO Infrastructure Week to Release Friday Club for Growth Build Back Better Score Launches Ad Against Democrats on Social Spending Bill MORE (NY) – pledged to vote on the spending bill once they saw more information from the CBO, but no later than this week, as part of a deal with progressives earlier this month.
The CBO began releasing estimates on sections of the bill last week and said it expects to release the remaining estimates by the end of Friday.
Democratic leaders have suggested that the House could vote before the full score is released, for the simple reason that the previous statement from the moderates did not require it.
“The statement that was issued by some of our colleagues within the caucus on this point was that they are awaiting additional information from the CBO. It didn’t necessarily refer to a CBO score, ”said Rep. Hakeem jeffriesHakeem Sekou Jeffries CBC-led Black Men and Boys Social Status Commission meets for the first time After 35 years, Congress should finally end the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine Democrats see the light at the end of the tunnel on Biden’s agenda MORE (NY), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said during a press conference on Tuesday.
Still, the moderates have indicated that they want to see all the estimates from the invoice section that have not yet been released, which could take until the end of the week.
Murphy said Tuesday that the pending sections of the bill cover important topics, such as climate change, immigration, taxes and drug prices.
“All of those things are important to me and I’d like to see what the estimates say,” he said.
In a development that bodes well for a vote this week, there are some signs that moderates may not seek to delay the bill if the CBO discovers it would increase the deficit.
The CBO is likely to suggest that a provision to provide the IRS with an additional $ 80 billion over a decade will raise considerably less money than the Biden administration’s estimate of $ 400 billion. In September, the CBO estimated that a similar funding proposal from the IRS would save $ 120 billion.
CBO Director Phillip Swagel said during an event Monday that other analyzes lend a lot of weight to the idea that increased funding for IRS enforcement should deter people from not paying taxes. However, the research on this notion is “very mixed,” he said.
Some moderates indicated Tuesday that a lower number in the amount the IRS provision could raise could force negotiators back to the negotiating table.
“The thing has to be paid for, so we will probably have to make adjustments,” said Rep. Scott petersScott H. Peters It’s time for Congress to make Medicare drug price reform right. House leaders make a last-minute change in drug prices after Democratic leaders of the dispute increased pressure on rejections of Biden’s agenda MORE (D-Calif.). “We take the good and bad numbers from the CBO.”
But other moderate lawmakers said they expect the CBO’s estimate of the IRS funding provision to differ from the White House’s figure, which could indicate that even a large disparity might not be a deal breaker.
“I think we’ve understood for a long time that there is a discrepancy between the Treasury’s analysis of the income that comes from the tax and what the CBO number is,” Murphy said.
Gottheimer told reporters Monday that he agrees with the White House that the IRS provision would raise more money than the CBO is likely to estimate. The legislator elaborated his position on Tuesday, saying on Twitter that the Treasury Department’s estimate is “too conservative if anything.”
“We have consistently used US Treasury estimates for IRS application savings, because the Treasury and IRS have the experience to estimate the direct and indirect effects of compliance activities,” he tweeted.
There are also moderates who have signaled that they are prepared to vote for the package even if the CBO says it is not fully paid for.
Rep. Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel Costa Moderate Democrats push for scores before voting on Biden package Top Democrat dismisses need for budget report before House votes on spending plan Infrastructure setback frustrates Democrats closer to victory in spending MORE (D-Calif.) He said he could see himself voting for the legislation this week even if he had some concerns about it, because the bill is likely to see changes in the Senate.
“So, I can vote for a measure before the end of this week that worries me. But if I have a fairly high degree of feelings that it is going to be changed and modified in some way, then I would be willing, as I have in previous measures, [vote] for things that I know are going to come back in a different way, “he said.