Too good to check: Rep. Joe Barton says CBO score will exceed … $1 trillion

posted at 4:41 pm on March 17, 2010 by Allahpundit

I’m skeptical, but commenters in the Pelosi thread are buzzing so let’s have at it.

health care issue is still up in the air…..the Congressional budget office score has come in at over 1 trillion $..yes …..1 trillion……if the bill is not posted by 6 pm today< we cant vote on it saturday...stay tuned

Steve Hayes of the Weekly Standard is hearing the same thing. So why am I skeptical? Well, (a) by law, the reconciliation fix has to reduce the deficit above and beyond the reduction already provided for in Reid’s Senate bill — which cost less than a trillion. It’s technically possible for a more expensive bill to produce greater long-term savings, but I’m keen to see how they played with the, ahem, revenue-raising provisions to do it. And (b) even if they can make the numbers work for reconciliation, The One has said all along that he wants a bill that costs in the neighborhood of $900 billion. No surprise that he’d be willing to break yet another promise to pass this clusterfark, but it’s not his credibility that’s on the line right now; it’s the credibility of Democratic fencesitters, who need some sort of fig leaf on costs that they can take back to their districts. As moronic as it may sound, a $950 billion bill is easier to sell than a $1 trillion one (that’s why gadgets are priced at $99.99 instead of $100), to the point where I would have considered it a mortal lock that the leadership would game the numbers so that they come in at $900-and-change. According to the GOP whip count, it’s 204 yes, 209 no, with 18 left to decide things. Is Pelosi really going to hang a pricetag with 12 zeroes around their necks before they vote?

We’ll have the numbers soon. Stand by.

Update: Like I was saying about those revenue-raising provisions

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is headed into a meeting with President Obama this afternoon after the White House and Congressional leaders have begun to discuss a higher-than-expected excise tax on some health care plans, in order to maintain their claim that health care legislation will reduce the deficit, a source involved in health care talks said.

Any unexpected change to the health care plan could endanger support for the bill from labor, which agreed to back it after reductions to the planned excise tax.


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