Democrats’ Plan May Cost More Than $3.5 Trillion They Claim, Budget Watchdog Warns

The policies Democrats want to include in their budget reconciliation deal are likely to cost far more than the $3.5 trillion they have touted, The Hill reports.

Democrats are planning an ambitious spending bill to expand Medicare and Medicaid, extend the Child Tax Credit, provide free community college, and provide additional family and care benefits in a bill they can pass with a simple majority.

But all of those priorities are likely to cost between $5 trillion and $5.5 trillion over the next decade, trillions more than the $3.5 trillion price tag the party has advertised, according to an analysis by budget watchdog group Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

The group said the Democrats were using a “budget gimmick” to hide the cost of their proposals.

“It would be unwise and irresponsible to use arbitrary expirations and sunsets to obscure the true cost of this legislation," the group said.

Analysis might miss the mark:

The analysis was based on spending in President Joe Biden’s ambitious 2022 budget proposal but the actual bill is expected to sacrifice a number of priorities and shorten certain programs to win over centrists like Joe Manchin and those in the House.

A senior Democratic aide told the Hill that the “duration of many of the spending programs would depend on their cost and feedback from relevant congressional committees.”

The bill is already expected to include a shorter Child Tax Credit extension than Democrats wanted.

What’s in the bill?

The bill includes a wide range of policies largely modeled after Biden’s American Families Plan proposal.

The bill would add hearing, vision, and dental coverage for Medicare and expand Medicaid to people in states that have not expanded their programs under Obamacare.

The bill also includes measures to lower prescription drug costs, provide universal pre-K for all 3- and 4-year-olds, free community college, and clean energy requirements for utility companies.

Democrats are aiming to pass the bill on their own in tandem with a bipartisan bill focused on physical infrastructure, though some Republicans who helped negotiate the deal are already wobbling on whether they will support it.

The Democrats’ plan would be paid for by increasing taxes on imports from countries with high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, higher top-earner and corporate taxes, increased IRS enforcement, and other measures, though everything is subject to change in negotiations.


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