President Joe Biden challenged a well-established fact about his most expensive piece of legislation Monday, and the backlash has been fast and furious.
Biden tweeted out Monday about his bill, which media outlets of all stripes, as well as members on both sides of the aisle, have said costs $3.5 trillion.
“My Build Back Better Agenda costs zero dollars,” Biden wrote on Twitter over the weekend. “Instead of wasting money on tax breaks, loopholes, and tax evasion for big corporations and the wealthy, we can make a once-in-a-generation investment in working America. And it adds zero dollars to the national debt.”
This claim was met with incredulous pushback.
“This is a ridiculous lie—but I guess it’s easy to make things up when you know fact checkers won’t hold you accountable!” the Heritage Foundation responded on Twitter. “The truth? It would likely add somewhere between $1-2 trillion to the national debt.”
Biden has claimed that his tax increases will offset the cost of the bill, but expert’s estimates have not gotten there yet. On top of that, even a bill offset by tax increases still has a a “cost” to taxpayers and the economy, experts argue.
“Democrats are grasping for ways to finance their cradle-to-grave welfare state, with the left demanding what they claim is $3.5 trillion over 10 years,” the Wall Street Journal wrote in a recent editorial saying the bill is actually more expensive than the often quoted $3.5 trillion. “The truth is that even that gargantuan number hides the real cost of their plans. The bills moving through committees are full of delayed starts, phony phase-outs, and cost-shifting to states designed to fit $3.5 trillion into a 10-year budget window that can pass with a mere 51 Senate votes. Even if the bill shrinks to $2 trillion or less, the real costs will be far greater. Behold one of the greatest fiscal cons in history.”
Members of Congress got in on the pushback as well.
“Simple math for President Biden: $3.5 trillion does NOT equal zero,” said Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y.
Others compared the statement to a line out of “1984,” the famous George Orwell novel where the government changes the meaning of words to control the people they govern.
“War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, $3.5 Trillion is $0,” said Brad Polumbo, policy expert at the Foundation for Economic Education.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., called Biden “very confused.”
“Biden thinks his $3.5 trillion reckless spending plan ‘costs zero dollars’?” he said. “He is very confused.”