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Pelosi touts new tax revenue estimate for $1.75T social safety net bill

President Joe Biden's legislative agenda is facing a long uphill battle in Congress, just when progress seems to be made another problem arises.
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WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, or JCT, analysis on the $1.75 trillion safety net bill shows the legislation is "solidly paid for."

The JCT has estimated the Build Back Better bill in the House will raise $1.47 trillion from new taxes, according to a new analysis released Thursday.

The JCT analysis is an "objective view that is solidly paid for and that doesn't even take into account what we're very proud of is an agreement on prescription drugs, which generates resources as well as enforcement," said Pelosi at her weekly press conference.

Democratic lawmakers have been trying to come to a deal on President Joe Biden's legislative agenda for months now. A reservation for many lawmakers who said they wanted to see the Congressional Budget Office and the JCT provide an official cost estimate of the legislation before agreeing.

Party leaders are frantically seeking to ink a deal so they can pass Biden's social spending legislation and a separate infrastructure package through the House this week.

"We're going to pass both bills, but in order to do so, we have to have votes for both bills," said Pelosi, who was reticent to say when a vote would occur.

Biden has been calling various House Democrats on Thursday to push them to vote for the safety net legislation when it comes to the floor, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News. The president is not pressing for a specific timeline, instead deferring to Pelosi on that aspect, but is asking Democratic lawmakers to support the bill when it's called up for a vote, the sources said.

Earlier this week, five centrist House Democrats — Ed Case, of Hawaii, Jared Golden, of Maine, Josh Gottheimer, of New Jersey, Stephanie Murphy, of Florida, and Kurt Schrader of Oregon — wrote a letter telling Pelosi they wanted an official cost estimate of the legislation "before any floor consideration" of the Build Back Better proposal.

With the JCT analysis released, the U.S. Treasury Department now estimates the House's safety net bill will generate $2 trillion in savings, according to a release.

"The bottom line is that the Build Back Better Act under consideration in the House of Representatives will be fully paid for and reduce the deficit," said the Treasury Department in a statement.

Later on Thursday, Pelosi sent a letter to House lawmakers highlighting the JCT analysis and its estimates. But she did not specify a timeline for a vote on the spending package.

"We are proceeding with transformative legislation to drive historic progress," she said in the letter.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said his goal is to pass the social spending legislation by Thanksgiving.

"That's our goal. I'll be blunt, we need to act quickly. We need to work boldly because the president's agenda is the remedy to the enormous challenges American families and American workers are facing," Schumer said at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

Schumer had said he hoped to begin debate on the bill, a crucial piece of Biden's agenda, on Nov. 15.

Another outstanding issue lawmakers are dealing with is immigration, specifically work permits, which "we're finding our common ground" on, said Pelosi.

One agreement that came together earlier in the week was on lowering prescription drug costs, particularly for seniors. Even Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., a key holdout, endorsed the agreement.