President Joe Biden claimed on Saturday that his Build Back Better agenda costs ‘zero dollars’
Republican lawmakers and groups have been tearing into President Joe Biden over the weekend into Monday after the 78-year-old commander-in-chief claimed his Build Back Better agenda will cost ‘zero dollars.’
On Saturday night the president tweeted in support of his Build Back Better plan, claiming it adds nothing to the national debt.
But an analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) found the proposals in the agenda would require the US to directly borrow $1 trillion, projecting that nearly $3 trillion would be added to the national debt over the next 10 years.
Biden’s progressive agenda is comprised of a $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure deal, and Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation package which has no Republican support.
The former measure, which passed the Senate in August, would only offset its own costs by about $200 billion according to the CRFB. That leaves $350 billion to be paid.
‘My Build Back Better Agenda costs zero dollars,’ Biden said Saturday.
‘Instead of wasting money on tax breaks, loopholes, and tax evasion for big corporations and the wealthy, we can make a once-in-a-generation investment in working America. And it adds zero dollars to the national debt.’
But Republicans immediately accused the president of lying to the American public.
‘Biden’s statement is just patently absurd,’ a Washington Examiner op-ed stated. ‘Even granting arguendo Biden’s dubious claim that the Build Back Better Agenda is “already paid for,” this is wrong on numerous levels.’
Republican lawmakers immediately seized on Biden’s statement and accused him of either lying or being confused
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton said Biden ‘is very confused’ if he ‘thinks his $3.5 trillion reckless spending plan “costs zero dollars”‘ on Sunday night.
Democrats are pushing through their $3.5 trillion spending package using a legislative process known as reconciliation, allowing them to avoid Republican opposition in the form of the filibuster.
But Republicans in Congress are trying to tie the hefty package to a crucial measure aimed at suspending the debt ceiling and avoiding a government shutdown, which is up for a vote on Monday evening.
Forcing Democrats to add the debt ceiling to the $3.5 trillion package would highlight the price tag – which Republicans say may end up as much as $4.3 trillion – and distract from popular elements such as paid family leave, say insiders.
‘The price tag and then the tax hikes that have to go along with that are going to be a core argument for Republicans next year in the mid-terms,’ said a Senate GOP aide.
Democrats have insisted that they want to suspend the debt ceiling so the US could pay for the $7 trillion in debt that Donald Trump accrued during his presidency.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the idea of tying it to the reconciliation package that even earns a cool reception from fiscally-conscious members of her own party.
Numerous other Republicans cast doubt on Biden’s claim, which was also disputed by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin warned his colleagues earlier this month to ‘hit the pause button’ on the $3.5 trillion bill, adding ‘I don’t want to have debt over our head to where we basically can’t service the debt that we have.’
House Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) said ‘I don’t think we can afford to do everything’ in a Fox interview in mid-September.
Biden and progressive lawmakers also claim his hefty Build Back Better agenda would be paid for by raising taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans – which Republicans point out is different than ‘zero dollars.’
Rep. Steve Womack (R-AK) wrote on Twitter, ‘This is completely false. The largest spending spree in government history will cost “zero dollars”?’
‘That defies logic and basic math. Alongside massive tax increases, it will add trillions to the debt. Peddling false narratives won’t change those facts.’
New York gubernatorial candidate and GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) mocked Biden on Twitter by posting a Pinocchio emoji with a long nose.
‘MANY trillions of dollars in new spending “costs zero dollars”? Sure thing Big Guy,’ Zeldin also wrote.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) also made fun of Biden, retweeting his statement and adding, ‘Math is hard’ on Monday afternoon.
The official Twitter account for Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee also weighed in
The conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation said Biden’s policies would add to the national debt
Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL) simply retweeted Biden’s Saturday statement and added, ‘This is a lie.’
The official Twitter account for the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee echoed the sentiment.
Zeldin’s fellow New York lawmaker Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) said she thought Biden’s statement came from a fake account.
‘I have to admit, I thought this was from a parody account when I first read it. It was disturbing to see it was actually from our President,’ Tenney wrote.
‘He thinks he can spend an unprecedented $3.5 trillion and not add a penny to the debt? This is who is in charge? Scary.’
Congressman Bob Good (R-VA) blasted Biden’s claim his agenda costs ‘zero dollars’ as ‘delusional.’
‘Delusional…reckless spending on socialist priorities is not “investing”…and it adds TRILLIONS to the national debt!’ Good said.
Vocal Trump ally Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), said ‘$3.5 Trillion does not equal zero no matter how much Common Core math you try to do.’
Former Trump adviser Stephen Miller wrote a scathing rebuke of Biden
Even people who support the president’s plan dispute his math
While not directly responding to Biden’s statement, Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn ripped Democrats’ ‘radical policies’ the day after Biden claimed Build Back Better would cost nothing.
‘Taxpayers are already on the hook for trillions of dollars’ worth of radical policies that will take more money out of the pockets of hardworking Americans,’ Blackburn wrote on Twitter.
The conservative Heritage Foundation also lambasted Biden’s statement as a ‘ridiculous lie.’
‘This is a ridiculous lie—but I guess it’s easy to make things up when you know fact checkers won’t hold you accountable!’ the group stated.
Ex-Trump adviser Stephen Miller also excoriated Biden on Twitter Monday afternoon.
‘If anyone in your life drained their bank account, went on a wild weekend spending spree, bought everything they didn’t need, neglected every responsibility, left themselves destitute & penniless, but believed this manic buying binge “cost zero dollars”—you’d have them committed,’ Miller wrote.
Even supporters of the president’s plan find his claim dubious.
‘I strongly support the new infrastructure plan. It is not costless,’ political scientist Ian Bremmer said Monday morning.