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Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher November 10, 2021

If Your Time is short

  • Over 10 years, the new infrastructure spending would total about $550 billion, while the official estimate of its increased deficits is $256 billion.

The day after the House passed an infrastructure bill and sent it to President Joe Biden to be signed, conservative podcast host Dan Bongino attacked Biden with a Facebook post warning that the bill will produce as much in budget deficits as it spends on infrastructure. 

"Nothing he’s telling you is true, yet dumb liberals will continue to fall for his amateur-hour bulls---," wrote Bongino, who has 4.8 million Facebook followers. "Watch the deficit rise by the exact amount of this fake infrastructure bill, and yet programmed liberals will deny the evidence right in front of their eyes."

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Bongino told PolitiFact in an expletive-filled email that his statement about the deficit was intended as a prediction, not a statement of fact, so we’re not fact-checking it. He didn’t explain the "evidence" he mentioned in the post or the basis for his prediction, which substantially exceeds deficit estimates from the Congressional Budget Office and other groups that score legislation for its fiscal effects.

CBO estimate

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which drew 13 GOP votes in the House and 19 in the Senate, would add roughly $550 billion in new spending over 10 years on transportation, internet, drinking water, the power grid and other initiatives. It’s part of a $1 trillion bill that also renews existing transportation spending.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill would add a net of $256 billion to deficits from 2021 to 2031. That’s based on how much more in spending the bill would add versus the amount of revenue it would take in.

The CBO said its estimate doesn’t take into account the broader macroeconomic impact of the new spending, and how that would affect federal revenues.

Higher deficit estimates

Two private estimates of the bill’s deficit score are higher, but still less than the total spending.

The Penn Wharton Budget Model at the University of Pennsylvania estimates the new deficits would total $351 billion, but provided no further detail.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates the bill would add $400 billion to the deficit. 

The group says its estimate differs from the CBO’s because the CBO estimate takes into account only direct spending, appropriations and revenue. The committee said its figure is based on the bill’s adding highway and transit "contract authority" and indirectly raising the baseline of highway spending over five years. 

"As CBO and others have shown, borrowing from the future undermines the economic benefits of new public investments," the group said in a statement.

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Our Sources

Facebook, post, Nov. 6, 2021

Email, Dan Bongino, Nov. 9, 2021

PolitiFact, "Can Joe Biden’s agenda really cost zero dollars? A guide to the bills and the numbers," Sept. 29, 2021

Congressional Budget Office, "Senate Amendment 2137 to H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, as Proposed on August 1, 2021," revised Aug. 9, 2021

Email, Robert Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition, Nov. 8, 2021

Email, Paulina Enck, press secretary, American Action Forum, Nov. 8, 2021

Reason, "Congress Finally Passed Biden's Inefficient, Deficit-Hiking Infrastructure Bill," Nov. 6, 2021

The White House, "Fact Sheet: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal," Nov. 6, 2021

Penn Wharton Budget Model, "Updated Bipartisan Senate Infrastructure Deal: Budgetary And Economic Effects," Aug. 5, 2021, "Senators Claim Infrastructure Bill Is ‘Paid For’; Experts Disagree," posted Aug. 4, 2021, updated Aug. 5, 2021 

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, "Infrastructure Plan Will Add $400 Billion to the Deficit, CBO Finds," Aug. 5, 2021

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, "More Pay-Fors Needed for Bipartisan Infrastructure Act," Aug. 10, 2021

Washington Post Fact Checker, "Biden’s claim that his spending plan ‘costs zero dollars,’" Sept. 28, 2021

New York Times, "The Infrastructure Plan: What’s In and What’s Out," updated Aug. 10, 2021

The Hill, "The infrastructure bill will increase the debt — stop telling Americans otherwise," Aug. 18, 2021 

American Action Forum, "The BIF Is Becoming Law," Nov. 8, 2021

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Deficit ‘prediction’ for infrastructure bill varies widely from estimates