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Infrastructure Bill Would Add $256 Billion to Deficit, CBO Says

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) (5th L) speaks as (L-R) Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) listen during a news conference after a procedural vote for the bipartisan infrastructure framework at Dirksen Senate Office Building July 28, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The Senate has advanced the bipartisan infrastructure framework with the vote of 67-32. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
• August 6, 2021 1:15 pm

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The Senate's bipartisan infrastructure bill would add $256 billion to the deficit over a 10-year period, according to an estimate released Thursday by the Congressional Budget Office.

While the bill would decrease direct spending by $110 billion between 2021 and 2031, according to the CBO estimate, it would add $415 billion in discretionary funding. The CBO also projected the bill would generate $50 billion in revenue.

The bill's sponsors, including Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.), Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), and Rob Portman (R., Ohio), claimed the legislation was "paid for," meaning taxes would not need to be raised to fund it. But experts were skeptical of the claim even before the CBO released its estimate, taking issue with the methodology the senators used to calculate the bill's cost. Lawmakers claimed hundreds of billions of dollars in offsets from savings that "have already occurred," such as unspent COVID-19 relief funds that would be used to fund the legislation, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Manchin, who supports the Senate package, said in July that "we need to pay" for the infrastructure bill and that he doesn't "think we need more debt." The bill allocates $1 billion for the Appalachian Regional Commission, an agency run by Manchin's wife, Gayle Manchin. President Joe Biden elevated her to the role in March.