House Democrats delay vote on massive spending bill

By Fernando Alfonso III and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 7:27 a.m. ET, November 19, 2021
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7:50 p.m. ET, November 18, 2021

CBO estimates spending bill will add $367 billion to deficit over a decade

From CNN's Annie Grayer and Manu Raju

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Build Back Better Act will add $367 billion to the deficit over a decade, according to the summary that they just released.

Part of the gap in the CBO calculations stems in part from the discrepancy over IRS tax enforcement, which had been expected:

“CBO estimates that enacting this legislation would result in a net increase in the deficit totaling $367 billion over the 2022-2031 period, not counting any additional revenue that may be generated by additional funding for tax enforcement.”

7:50 p.m. ET, November 18, 2021

White House official says overall CBO cost estimates came in about $50 billion below estimates

From CNN's Phil Mattingly

The total cost of the 13 Congressional Budget Office estimates on the Build Back Better Act came in roughly $50 billion below the White House estimates that served as the baseline for House Democratic moderates, according to a White House official.

While there were divergences on several elements – a number of which, including the prescription drug reforms which would raise $50 billion more in the CBO estimate than the White House projected, the White House is now confident that the House bill can be considered fully paid for – a critical metric for the handful of moderate House Democrats who haven’t committed support for the measure.

The White House economic team is currently working through a new table of estimates to send to the Hill, but are confident this meets the requirements of those Democrats.

“That means that the bill will be more than fully paid for,” the official said.


7:36 p.m. ET, November 18, 2021

CBO finalizes estimates on each section of the spending bill, clearing major obstacle ahead of House vote

 From CNN's Annie Grayer and Manu Raju 

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has finished releasing each section of its analysis of the sweeping Build Back Better bill, a sign that the House is prepared to vote as soon as Thursday night on the bill.

The CBO has not released its overall scoring, but that is expected to come soon. Moderate Democrats who had refused to back the bill had demanded "fiscal information" from CBO to show that the overall spending and tax amounts are consistent with White House projections.

In the Ways and Means title, the CBO shows a deficit in spending, but that is just for that section, not for the overall bill.


One hiccup emerged when the CBO released its estimates on the committee on the Judiciary section, which included the immigration provisions.

According to CBO, immigration and related provisions would raise the deficit by $115 billion, which is more than the $107 billion that the budget allows Congress to spend on the provisions — partly aimed at helping undocumented immigrants. That means that those provisions need to be reworked before the Senate takes up the measure.

Also, CBO projected that increased IRS enforcement would raise net revenue by $127 billion — that is far less than the $320 billion the White House projected. But the White House has briefed members for weeks about the discrepancy and moderate Democrats seem satisfied with their explanation.


7:35 p.m. ET, November 18, 2021

Here's what Biden's sweeping social safety plan would do

From CNN's Tami Luhby and Katie Lobosco

The sweeping $1.9 trillion bill would transform the nation's social safety net despite being whittled down to roughly half its original size amid infighting between the party's moderate and progressive wings.

It would create a universal pre-K program, assist families with child care and send them the enhanced child tax credit for another year. It would also provide beefed-up subsidies on the Affordable Care Act exchanges through 2025 and offer federal help to those who fall below the poverty line.

It would funnel nearly $570 billion into climate measures, attempt to address affordable housing shortfalls and provide money to parents to buy their kids food over the summer.

Once it gets through the House, the legislation would still have to be approved in the Senate, where Democrats can't afford to lose a single vote in the reconciliation process.

Here's more of what's in the package and what it would do:

Universal pre-K: The bill would provide free pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds. It would expand access to 6 million children a year. Funding would last six years. The provision, along with the child care measure, would cost $390 billion, according to the White House's latest estimate.

Child care: The legislation would limit child care costs for families with children younger than age 6 to no more than 7% of income for those earning up to 250% of state median income, expanding access to about 20 million children. Funding would last six years. This provision, along with universal pre-K, would cost $390 billion, according to the White House's latest estimate.

Paid family and sick leave: Biden also wants to create a federally funded paid family and sick leave program for the millions of Americans who don't already receive the benefit from their employer. He first called for 12 weeks of paid leave, which was then reduced to four weeks during negotiations. The latest House version of the bill includes four weeks of paid family and sick leave, costing an estimated $194 billion -- but the provision is likely to be cut out of the legislation once it is taken up by the Senate. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is opposed to including the benefit in this bill and Democrats can't afford to lose one vote.

Enhanced child tax credit: The beefed-up child tax credit -- which provides $300 a month for each child under age 6 and $250 a month for each one ages 6 through 17 -- would be extended through 2022 for more than 35 million families.

Heads of household earning up to $112,500 and joint filers making up to $150,000 annually would qualify for the enhanced payments. But, unlike in 2021, only these families would receive the funds in monthly installments next year. Eligible parents with higher incomes would have to claim the credit on their tax return the following year.

The credit would be made permanently refundable so the lowest income families would continue to qualify. The enhancement, which was part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Democrats enacted earlier this year, is currently only in place for 2021.

This credit, along with the earned income tax credit, would cost about $203 billion, according to the White House's latest estimate.

The House bill unveiled in September would have extended the credit through 2025.

Earned income tax credit: The expanded earned income tax credit would be extended through 2022, helping 17 million low-wage childless workers. The boost, also part of the relief package, is only in place for this year. It nearly triples the maximum credit childless workers can receive, extends eligibility to more people, reduces the minimum age and eliminates the upper age limit. This credit, along with the enhanced child tax credit, would cost about $203 billion, according to the White House's latest estimate.

The earlier House bill would have extended it permanently.

Home health care: The proposal calls for permanently improving Medicaid coverage for home care services for seniors and people with disabilities, with the goal of reducing the more than 800,000 people on state Medicaid waiting lists.

It also aims to improve the quality of caregiving jobs. The measure would cost $150 billion, according to the White House's latest estimate.

Originally, Biden had hoped to shower $400 billion on this effort as part of his infrastructure package.

Read a full breakdown of the bill here.