After a weeks-long intraparty stalemate, House Democrats are on the precipice of advancing President Biden’s Build Back Better Act (BBBA, H.R.5376) and sending it to the Senate.

The last obstacle on this leg of the bill’s journey is a cost and impact assessment (“score”) from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). What is a CBO “score” and why is one necessary at this juncture?

A CBO score is a detailed estimate of the spending and revenue effects of legislation relative to the underlying budget baseline. A formal score illustrates the impact of each major provision on federal spending, revenues, and budget deficits for each year of the budget window. Notably, the net interest associated with any increase in budget deficits and debt attributable to the legislation is not included in a CBO score. 

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