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Senator Kelly’s Claims On Biden’s $4 Trillion Plan Conflict With Congressional Estimates

December 4, 2021

By Corinne Murdock

Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) claimed that the Biden Administration’s spending plan, the Build Back Better Act that could cost over $4 trillion, wouldn’t raise taxes for the lower and middle classes and would be paid for in full during an interview with Fox10 on Thursday. As written, the spending plan would cost around $2.15 trillion – but if the provisions are made permanent, that would incur an additional cost well over $2 trillion according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. 

“And by the way: this is not going to raise taxes on middle and working class Arizonans,” asserted Kelly. “For folks that make under 400,000 a year – families, their taxes will not go up. And by the way, this is going to be paid for by the wealthiest corporations.”

The sentiment that the spending would be paid for in full didn’t align with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) assessment released last month. The CBO estimated that the spending would result in a net increase in the country’s deficit by $367 billion over the next ten years. Unadjusted, the spending would add to the country’s deficit by $750 billion over the next five years and $160 billion over the next ten years.

Kelly added that Congress was still working over details of the Build Back Better Act – so the CBO report could be considered a working estimate. 

The CBO also included a cost breakdown for each policy within the Build Back Better Act; they estimated:

  • $585 billion for family benefits related to affordable child care, paid family and medical leave, and universal pre-K 
  • $570 billion for climate and infrastructure related to “clean” energy and climate resilience, electric tax credits, “clean” fuel, vehicle tax credits, other climate-related tax benefits, and infrastructure and related tax breaks
  • $340 billion for health care related to expanded Medicaid, Affordable Care Act tax credits, and health care workforce investments
  • $325 billion collectively for affordable housing, higher education, workforce, and “other spending and investments”
  • $280 billion for reducing or delaying the broadening of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)
  • $215 billion for tax credits and cuts related to children, earned income, and “other tax changes”
  • $110 billion for immigration reform

The House passed their version of the Build Back Better Act days before Thanksgiving. The Senate must decide on whether it will accept the bill as is, or modify it. The latter is most likely, considering the sentiments of two senators. 

Unlike Kelly, Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has held out her support for the spending plan. Sinema isn’t alone – Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) also doesn’t support the bill’s price tag. Despite pressure from their party, both senators have insisted that they want the bill reduced drastically in its cost.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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