Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., said Thursday that new spending included in the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill is fully covered, despite the Congressional Budget Office’s projection that it would significantly increase the federal deficit.
Portman and Sinema, who served as lead negotiators during bipartisan talks, reiterated their support for the bipartisan legislation after the CBO estimated it would add $256 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years. The lawmakers argued the CBO’s score was not a complete account of the pay-fors included in the proposal.
"The new spending under the bill is offset through a combination of new revenue and savings, some of which is reflected in the formal CBO score and some of which is reflected in other savings and additional revenue identified in estimates, as CBO is limited in what it can include in its formal score," Portman and Sinema said in a joint statement.
"The American people strongly support this bipartisan legislation and we look forward to working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle and President Biden to get it passed through Congress and signed into law," they added.
The CBO’s report projected the deal, if approved, would increase discretionary spending by $415 billion, decrease net spending by $110 billion and increase federal revenues by $50 billion from 2021-2031. The deal calls for $550 billion in new spending on road, bridges, clean water and other physical infrastructure projects.
The CBO said its analysis did not account for the bill’s potential macroeconomic impact, including factors such as national productivity and outside gains tied to infrastructure improvements.
The projection could reignite concerns among some Republican lawmakers who have argued the legislation is too costly and fiscally irresponsible.
Sen. Mike Braun, a critic of the legislation, said the "pay-fors in this package are either phony or insufficient, and this bill is full of K street carve-outs, kickbacks and pork.
"Republicans must not support the Swamp’s bloated debt bomb parading as an infrastructure deal," Braun said.
Supporters, including Biden, Senate Democrats and a number of Republicans, say it is a necessary investment that will stimulate economic growth and create jobs.
"Independent studies have shown that the long-term spending for capital assets in this measure will improve economic efficiency and productivity, increase GDP, generate additional revenue, and will not increase inflation," Portman and Sinema added.