Stephen Moore slams Biden adviser 'zero' cost claim for reconciliation bill: 'It’s not free'

Stephen Moore doesn’t buy argument that $3.5T budget bill will cost ‘zero’

Economist Stephen Moore responds to President Biden’s senior adviser Cedric Richmond insisting that the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill will cost “zero” due to tax hikes on the wealthy.

Economist Stephen Moore told "Varney & Co." on Monday that he doesn’t buy President Biden's senior adviser Cedric Richmond’s argument that the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill will cost "zero" due to tax hikes on the wealthy.

"It’s not free to people," Moore stressed. "It doesn’t cost zero."   

During an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," Richmond, who serves as director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, received pushback from Fox News host Chris Wallace after making the controversial claim that the reconciliation bill won’t cost anything.  

"I think what’s important for people to understand is that this piece of legislation costs zero," Richmond said. "We’re going to pay for it all by raising taxes on the very wealthy and big corporations."

"I’ve gotta stop you there, it doesn’t cost zero," Wallace interjected. "Now, you can pay for it either by borrowing it or you can pay for it by raising taxes on corporations or the wealthy, but it doesn’t cost zero."

Richmond continued, "At the end of the day it will cost zero because we’re going to pay for it. Now, if you go back and look at the Trump tax cuts, which weren’t paid for, they cost billions and billions, but we’re going to pay for everything we spend here." 

On Monday, Moore said he does not accept the logic that the reconciliation bill will be paid for by taxing the rich. 

"Those taxes will have a very negative effect on the economy," Moore told host Stuart Varney.  

Moore then brought up an analogy: "It’s like, you know, when you get a credit card and you say, ‘Gee, this is free, I can just buy all stuff and I don’t have to pay for it.’" 

"You know what? The bills come due at some point," he continued. 

President Biden and his team have tripled down on the claim that his Build Back Better agenda "costs zero dollars" despite loud condemnations from the Washington Post fact-checker, budget analysts and at least one columnist who supports the infrastructure bills associated with the agenda.

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"My Build Back Better Agenda costs zero dollars," Biden's Twitter account tweeted last week, claiming that the agenda "adds zero dollars to the national debt." White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki repeated the claim in a news conference the following Monday, saying, "This reconciliation package would cost zero dollars." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also insisted that the cost is "zero."

On Sunday, Richmond also said Biden intends to negotiate with moderate Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia to lower the price of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that progressives are trying to link to the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. 

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Moderate Democrats were outraged Friday after Pelosi declined to bring the bipartisan infrastructure bill to a vote, hoping to buy more time for negotiations with progressive Democrats, who have vowed to vote against the bill if it does not move in tandem with the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. 

Moore accused Democrats on Monday of using "budget gimmicks." 

"One of the tricks that they’re [Democrats are] going to use in this bill is they’re going to try to say that they’re only going to count five or six years of the spending over the ten-year period and say, ‘Well, it only costs $1.5 trillion’ when, in fact, the real cost is about two or three times that high," Moore argued.  

"It’s fraud and a CEO would be put in jail if they tried to do that," Moore added. 

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FOX Business’ Jessica Chasmar and Fox News’ Tyler O’Neil contributed to this report. 

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