Pay Bills

State of the Union address will seek to revive dormant budget reconciliation bill

Administration officials did not mention Manchin or whether Biden would offer a scaled-down version of the package that the West Virginia Democrat can support. But their focus on cutting costs for families and cutting the deficit are Manchin’s main concerns, namely that Democrats should not approve trillions of dollars in new spending as long as inflation remains high, and the party needs to focus more on fiscal responsibility.

Democrats also appear to be renaming the measure, which they previously dubbed “Build Back Better,” after Biden’s 2020 campaign slogan. In recent months, some leading Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have suggested he may need a new name because the measure has stalled and is subject to significant changes in the Senate.

Administration officials balked when asked if Biden would actually use the words “Build Back Better” in his speech. “It’s not about the name of the bill. It’s about ideas. It’s about reducing costs for families,” an official said.

The aides did not say whether Biden would call for a specific deficit reduction target, but they did note their belief that the fiscal reconciliation package would reduce the deficit. The measure is largely funded by tax increases on corporations and high net worth individuals, savings on prescription drug costs and better tax enforcement.

The Congressional Budget Office does not predict revenue gains as generous as the White House from increased IRS spending to strengthen tax enforcement and therefore estimated that the package would increase deficits $160 billion over 10 years. Taking the Treasury Department’s more ambitious estimate of revenue from tax enforcement, the White House last year produced an informal estimate that the measure would reduce deficits by more than $100 billion over the course of the first decade and up to $2 trillion in the second.