Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Lindsey Graham are pressing to learn the “true cost” of President Joe Biden’s multi-trillion dollar reconciliation package after Democrats failed to bring the measure to a vote this week due to disagreements and conflicts within their caucus over the price tag.
In a letter to the Congressional Budget Office on Friday, the Kentucky and South Carolina Republicans, respectively, are seeking the real price tag for the $3.5 social spending plan that the administration and Democrats are attempting to force through Congress as it lacks GOP support.
“We are concerned that the bill is currently being drafted behind closed doors in order to avoid making estimates available,” McConnell and Graham, the latter of whom is the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, wrote in a letter to CBO Director Phillip Swagel, as first reported by Fox News.
“How long would it take CBO to produce a formal cost estimate with detailed analysis of the direct spending and revenue effects of each section, a description of mandates … imposed and related costs by the legislative proposal, and detailed information on federal costs subject to future appropriations?” they asked.
In addition, the GOP senators accused Democrats of trying to limit debate on the bill while noting in their letter that “only four of the thirteen House authorizing committees’ reported reconciliation recommendations have received written cost estimates.”
“Given the Majority’s intent to completely ignore Senate committees, and the limited debate and consideration for the measure before it comes to the Senate floor, it is critical that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provide Senators and the public with information related to the fiscal consequences of the reckless changes being proposed,” the letter noted further. “We are concerned that the bill is currently being drafted behind closed doors in order to avoid making estimates available.”
Republicans have repeatedly voiced concerns that Biden’s spending plans are not fully paid for despite his and other Democratic leaders’ assurances to the contrary. So, too, have some Democrats.
“Instead of wasting money on tax breaks, loopholes and tax evasion for big corporations and the wealthy, we can make a once-in-a-generation investment in working America. And it adds zero dollars to the national debt,” Biden claimed of the legislation last week, dubbed his “Build Back Better” plan.
The administration and congressional Democrats have laid out a plan to pay for the legislation via a crackdown by the IRS that involves increasing audits of taxpayers and by boosting taxes on businesses and Americans earning higher incomes. In addition, the legislation would raise the current corporate tax rate from 21 percent, set via tax reform legislation passed by Republicans and signed by then-President Donald Trump in 2017, to 28 percent.
It also increases the capital gains tax from 20 percent to 25 percent and raises the top individual income tax rate to 39.6 percent from its current 37 percent.
“Democrats have said their Reckless Tax and Spend plan costs $0 – but that is false,” said a spokesperson for Senate Budge Committee Republicans, Fox News reported.
“The American people deserve to know the true cost of this multi-trillion dollar bill.”
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