Nov 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

First look: How White House pays for Biden agenda

Data: The White House; Table: Thomas Oide/Axios

The White House is trying to address voter concerns about its proposed $1.75 trillion social safety net expansion with a spreadsheet — obtained by Axios — showing broad revenue categories that fully cover the cost of the measure.

Why it matters: Republicans argued their victories in elections on Tuesday were partly driven by voter concern about big spending by Democrats. The spreadsheet circulating Wednesday offers a direct rebuttal to that concern, as Democrats try to regain their balance heading into next year’s midterms.

  • The revenue sources are projected to raise over $2.1 trillion, an administration official told Axios, which is more than the bill is estimated to cost.
  • Its exact price tag is still in flux, with additional spending being added.

The details: The chart is an internal estimate that was assessed after the latest changes to the bill, including adding a prescription drug provision, the official said.

  • The White House estimates strengthening IRS tax enforcement will raise the most revenue, at $400 billion.
  • $320 billion is estimated to come from a 15% corporate minimum tax on large corporations, while $365 billion is expected to be raised through the global minimum tax and other changes meant to prevent jobs from going overseas.
  • $250 billion will come through a reduced cost of prescription drugs, and closing a Medicare tax loophole for the wealthy, respectively.
  • The rest is outlined as follows: $160 billion by limiting business losses for the wealthy, $125 billion through a 1% stock buyback tax on corporations and $230 billion by implementing an AGI surcharge on millionaires and billionaires.
  • There's an unspecified $50 billion the White House claims will be raised through "other loophole closers."

What they’re saying: “The administration is confident that the House Build Back Better Act will be fully paid for,” a senior administration official told Axios.

  • “Based on updates to the legislation and our latest estimates, it will raise over $2.1 trillion by asking the highest-income Americans and the largest corporations to pay their fair share and reducing the cost of prescription drugs.”

What’s next: Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told reporters Wednesday afternoon she believes a vote will be held in the House this week on both the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $1.75 trillion social-spending bill.

  • While the text of the most recent iteration of that bill was released Wednesday afternoon, a handful of moderate Democrats insist they'll need to see a Congressional Budget Office score of its components before committing to a vote on it.

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to specify that revenue projections would raise more — not less — than the estimated cost of the Build Back Better bill.

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