The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released its much-anticipated score for the bipartisan infrastructure plan now under consideration in the Senate, estimating the package would add $256 billion in deficits over ten years, countering negotiators’ claim it would be fully paid for.
“The Congressional Budget Office estimates that over the 2021-2031 period, enacting Senate Amendment 2137 to H.R. 3684 would decrease direct spending by $110 billion, increase revenues by $50 billion, and increase discretionary spending by $415 billion,” the report said. “On net, the legislation would add $256 billion to projected deficits over that period.”
The CBO routinely reviews proposed legislation in what’s commonly knows as a scoring process. While the infrastructure package has bipartisan support in the Senate, some lawmakers said they wanted to wait for the CBO score before deciding whether to back the measure.
The release of the CBO score came as senators debated amendments to the $1 trillion bill late into the night Thursday before Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) adjourned the session until Saturday.
Schumer said he’s looking to hold a key vote to end the debate quickly, at which time the bill would need 60 votes to move forward. While it will be up to Schumer to make the final decision about when to end the amendment process, Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urged Schumer not to rush the consideration of amendments.
McConnell said in a statement that the Senate must have “a robust and bipartisan amendment process on legislation of this magnitude. Our full consideration of this bill must not be choked off by any artificial timetable that our Democratic colleagues may have penciled out for political purposes.”
Schumer wants to move from the bipartisan bill to the Democrat’s $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill as soon as possible, with recess and possible challenges over government funding serving as obstacles for the latter measure.
While it remains unclear how the CBO report will affect members of Congress who are still making up their minds on whether to back the measure, the bill’s two lead negotiators—Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio)—said the score did not account for all the ways the bill offset costs and urged lawmakers to support it.
“The new spending under the bill is offset through a combination of new revenue and savings, some of which is reflected in the formal CBO score and some of which is reflected in other savings and additional revenue identified in estimates, as CBO is limited in what it can include in its formal score,” the senators said in a joint statement.
Some Republicans reacted critically to the CBO score.
“The massive infrastructure bill is NOT, as its authors claim, ‘fully paid for,’” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in a tweet. Rubio previously opposed procedural motions on the bill.
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) issued a statement on what he called the “long awaited” CBO score, saying, “while we’ve heard for weeks that it would be paid for, it’s not. It didn’t just come up short, it came up a quarter of a trillion dollars short.”
Senators have debated more than two dozen amendments since the 2,702-page text of the bipartisan infrastructure bill was released Sunday.
Masooma Haq contributed to this report.