September 27, 2021
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) recently called for the House of Representatives to pass its reconciliation bill, the Build Back Better Act, this week. However, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has only scored very small portions of the bill so far, and substantial revisions are expected before the House vote.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has long opposed efforts to enact legislation, outside of an emergency, without a comprehensive score. Unless and until a CBO score of the legislation under consideration is released, the House should not vote on the Build Back Better Act.
The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:
Passing a reconciliation bill without a CBO score would make a mockery of the entire budget process.
Right now, we don’t know whether the reconciliation package currently being considered would cost $3.5 trillion, $4 trillion, or $5 trillion, and we don’t know whether it is deficit-neutral or a huge budget buster. And we won’t know until CBO has a chance to score it. You wouldn’t buy a new house without knowing its price; why would you vote for transformative legislation without knowing the cost?
Once Members of Congress know the cost of their proposal – and how much of it they have actually paid for so far – they can decide how to meet President Biden’s commitment to “pay for everything we spend.” Doing so will likely require paring back some of the spending and tax breaks, improving the offsets, and removing costly budget gimmicks.
Congress should not blindly pass trillions of dollars of taxes, spending, and borrowing. No score, no vote.