The Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday that the immigration bill currently being debated in the Senate would reduce the federal budget deficit by $875 billion over the first 20 years it becomes law.
The CBO said in its official scoring of the bill that it would reduce the deficit by $175 billion in its first 10 years of existence. Over the next decade, it would provide an additional $700 billion of deficit reduction.
That amounts to 0.2% of GDP.
If the bill becomes law, the CBO estimated that about 10.4 million people would come to the United States as new immigrants. And it would legalise about 8 million people who currently live in the country as unauthorised immigrants.
The CBO’s scoring of the bill pleased immigration reform advocates, the Senate “Gang of Eight” sponsors of the bill, and President Barack Obama.
“Today, we have more proof that bipartisan commonsense immigration reform will be good for economic growth and deficit reduction: this time, in the form of a nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimate,” the White House said in a statement.
“The Congressional Budget Office also made clear that passage of the immigration bill would not only reduce the deficit, it would increase economic growth for years to come. By fixing our broken immigration system – and making sure that every worker in America is playing by the same set of rules and paying taxes like everyone else – we can grow the economy, strengthen the middle class, improve our fiscal outlook and create new opportunity for Americans everywhere.”
In the bill’s first potential decade as law, the CBO predicted that it would increase federal spending by $262 billion, specifically for Medicaid and for subsidies provided through insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. But it would also increase revenues by $459 billion because of the larger size of the labour force.
In scoring the bill’s second potential decade as law, the CBO broke with normal operating procedures. But because it said the bill would provide a “significant number of people” with federal benefits after 2023, it decided to score a second decade.
Congressional Budget OfficeHere’s the key chart:
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