0 Dollars, They Say? Top GOP Senators Urge CBO to Reveal 'Real Cost' of Biden's Spending Package
09:46 GMT 02.10.2021 (Updated: 13:24 GMT 06.08.2022)
Democrats remain at loggerheads over President Joe Biden's $1 trillion infrastructure package as some of are calling for the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill to be passed first.
Senate Budget Committee ranking member Lindsey Graham
and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have called on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to provide Americans with the "true cost" of President Joe Biden's hefty reconciliation spending package.
In a letter to CBO Director Phillip Swagel, obtained by Fox News, the senators called for the "real numbers" for the estimated $3.5 trillion package to be presented.
"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 provide Senators and the public with information related to the fiscal consequences of the reckless changes being proposed", the letter stated.
The two expressed concern over the bill "currently being drafted behind closed doors in order to avoid making estimates available".
"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 (as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act) imposed and related costs by the legislative proposal, and detailed information on federal costs subject to future appropriations?", the letter reads.
The document comes as a spokesperson for Senate Budget Committee Republicans told Fox News that "Democrats have said their reckless tax and spend plan costs $0 – but that is false".
According to the spokesperson, "the American people deserve to know the true cost of this multi-trillion dollar bill". The spokesperson was apparently referring to Biden telling reporters when mentioning the reconciliation package that: "We talk about price tags. It is zero price tag on the debt. We're paying — we're going to pay for everything we spend".
Biden Says 'It Doesn't Matter' When Infrastructure Bill is Passed
The senators' letter to the CBO director follows POTUS remaining elusive about the infrastructure bill being passed in Congress, just saying "we're going to get it done". Biden added that "it doesn't matter whether it's in 6 minutes, 6 days, or 6 weeks".
Earlier, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
said that Democrats hope to pass the infrastructure bill by the end of the week. The document stipulates over $1 trillion in spending for infrastructure such as bridges, roads, water supply, as well as strengthening energy grids, and expanding internet access nationwide.
Democrats are at odds over the document, with several insisting that it should only be passed after the reconciliation bill is greenlighted. The differences come despite Republican opposition being unlikely to block the infrastructure bill.
GOP lawmakers remain opposed to both bills, calling, however, for the two pieces of legislation to be passed at the same time.
26 September 2021, 18:00 GMT
Senate Democrats Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin earlier said they were concerned by the price tag of the reconciliation legislation and the possibility of hitting the debt ceiling, which the Federal Reserve warned might have serious consequences for the American economy.
In the latest development, the US House of Representatives passed legislation that would suspend the debt ceiling
through 16 December 2022. This came after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Congress that the government might run out of cash by 18 October unless they manage to suspend the debt ceiling. According to her, the failure to raise the debt ceiling could lead to a crisis of "enormous proportions".