“I don’t think it’s viable to choose either of these options,” said Mark Goldwyn, senior policy director for the nonprofit’s Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which argues that the actual cost of the package is closer to $6 trillion. Is. “They have to make all these choices.”
One way to reduce the cost of the package is to drop some provisions altogether — but that won’t be easy to meet, as most of them have long been on Democrats’ to-do lists.
While the Congressional Budget Office has yet to release an assessment of the House bill, the White House has incorporated a number of similar measures into its US Family Plan proposal that it released in April.
In it, the president called for $200 billion for Universal Pre-K and $109 billion for two years of free community college. Biden is looking to invest $225 billion in child care and the same amount in the national paid family and medical leave program — although some experts say paid leave could cost double that.
Climate-related tax breaks, in large part for renewable energy, amount to up to $273 billion, the watchdog group says.
Jason Fichner, chief economist for bipartisan policy, said that when it comes to deciding what to do differently, lawmakers may want to consider which programs are more viable to implement and administer and Which ones have some bipartisan support so that they can avoid changes in administration. Center.
Already, in a budget reconciliation package, lawmakers are only extending the increased child tax credit through 2025, even though many want it to be permanent.
The hope is that the temporary provisions will become so popular that eventually they will be difficult not to expand, said Don Schneider, an economist at Cornerstone Macro, an investment research firm and former chief economist on the House Ways and Means Committee when Republicans controlled Congress.
Congress can also lower the price tag by delaying the start of benefits. For example, under the House bill, dental benefits will not be added to Medicare until 2028, to reduce the financial impact of the provision. Vision coverage will begin next October and hearing services a year later.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated in 2019 that dental coverage would cost $238 billion over 10 years, compared with $89 billion for hearing services and $30 billion for vision.
narrow the range
One reason the reconciliation bill is so expensive is that it would expand the nation’s safety net to a wider swath of Americans.
Some moderates don’t want it to be liberal enough.
For example, ManChain is pushing to base eligibility for some programs on income. They have discussed lowering the threshold for the increased child tax credit, but also requiring that parents work and earn an income to qualify.
Independent Senator Angus King from Maine, who is aligned with the Democrats, told Granthshala he supports the child tax credit, but “has some reservations about what the income levels are and who it goes to. “
Manchin and other moderate Democrats have also limited new Medicare benefits to people below a certain income threshold — which would be the first time that coverage in the program would be linked to income.
The White House has not ruled out reducing eligibility.
“Some programs in the Build Back Better plan have income limits, as you know, for eligibility, such as the Child Tax Credit and Child Care,” Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday. “We are ready to target other programs as well.”
The amount of benefit may also be deducted or other types of restrictions may be added. For example, Democrats could provide a child tax credit of up to $1,800 for children under age 6, instead of continuing the $3,600 credit for this year. They can reduce the maximum monthly paid vacation benefit in line with Social Security.
In addition, Medicare may charge a premium for its new coverage, which would reduce annual costs from $81 billion to $63 billion, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
“The bottom line is they’re going to dig stuff up, they’re going to have to have means-testing policies, they’re going to have to find ways to make things cheaper — and they’re still probably not going to satisfy their numbers,” Goldwyn said.
Granthshala’s Annie Grier, Manu Raju and Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.
Credit : www.cnn.com