News & Politics

White House Is Already Downplaying CBO Ahead of Its Review of Build Back Better

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

For a while now, the White House has insisted that the gargantuan Build Back Better bill is “paid for” and that it won’t add to the national debt. Several moderate Democrats in Congress successfully punted on voting for the budget legislation until the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) could score the bill to see if it holds up to the Biden administration’s claims.

The CBO is set to release its analysis sometime this week, as the Hill reports:

The CBO had released six estimates of portions of the bill last week, and released another two estimates of bill sections Monday. The office said it expects to release estimates of the remaining bill sections by Friday, including the key portions of the bill from the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“If we can get it done before then of course we will. But certainly by the end of Friday we’ll have the entire estimate,” CBO Director Phillip Swagel said at an event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center and Yahoo! Finance on Monday afternoon.

Pressed on whether the bill will pay for itself, as the White House has touted, Swagel said he “can’t yet” confirm that is the case, pending ongoing scoring.

But the White House is already downplaying any analysis from the CBO. Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich tweeted, “Amid reports the WH privately warned CBO score will show BBB is not fully paid for, @AndrewJBates46 says: ‘There’s wide agreement CBO doesn’t have experience analyzing revenue amounts gained from cracking down on wealthy tax cheats who are taking advantage of honest taxpayers.'”

So not only is White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates already poormouthing the CBO as unqualified to understand the BBB legislation, but he’s also portraying the bill as some sort of Robin Hood budgeting. In other words, it’s all about class warfare.

Bates’ Twitter feed is full of all sorts of turd-polishing retweets about BBB, for what it’s worth.

Related: A Requiem for Reconciliation: Radicals and Moderates Sabotage the Democrats’ Plans

Rep. Josh Gottenheimer (D-N.J.) — one of the moderates who is waiting on the CBO data — is already signaling good things about BBB.

Does this mean he’s on board, or will he actually wait and see what the CBO says? Will the CBO have a sunny outlook on BBB? What’s going to happen? (I ask all these questions in my old-school soap opera announcer voice…) Stay tuned.