Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

More Pay-Fors Needed for Bipartisan Infrastructure Act

Aug 10, 2021 | Budgets & Projections

The Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, bipartisan legislation to increase federal infrastructure investments. The legislation includes roughly $170 billion in offsets over a decade to partially pay for $517 billion of direct costs and over $570 billion of total costs. We estimate this will add about $400 billion to deficits over the next decade. The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

While we are pleased Republicans and Democrats have come together to move forward important public investments, this legislation falls far short of its promise to be fully paid for.

We strongly support measures in the bill to reduce the tax gap, lower drug prices, and extend or impose new user fees. But two-thirds of this package is paid for with smoke, mirrors, and debt.

As CBO and others have shown, borrowing from the future undermines the economic benefits of new public investments. The last thing we need is to put another $400 billion on the national credit card.

Fortunately, there is still time to improve this legislation in the House. By supplementing the current pay-fors with additional revenue, spending reforms, and user fees, policymakers can fully finance these important investments while improving our nation’s long-term fiscal and economic outlook.

That is something Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree to.

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For more information, please contact Ben Tomchik, deputy chief of staff, at tomchik@crfb.org