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Fact Check: Biden Claims to Have Cut Deficit by $1.7 Trillion



Breitbart: CLAIM: President Joe Biden said that he cut the deficit by $1.7 trillion in his first two years in office.

VERDICT: FALSE. Any reduction in the deficit is largely attributable to the reopening of the economy post-coronavirus pandemic and the expiration of coronavirus pandemic stimulus spending.

After he met with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Biden claimed during a Tuesday press conference that he cut the deficit by $1.7 trillion:

As I said, I’ve already cut the deficit by $1.7 trillion in my first two years in office. And the budget just submitted to Congress cuts another $3 trillion in debt over the next 10 years — my budget that I submitted.

Although the deficit has dropped since the beginning of this administration, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and other budget experts have found that the drop was not attributed to Biden “cutting” spending, but rather America experiencing the end of the coronavirus pandemic.

A 2022 CBO report found that the large decline in the federal deficit mainly came from government revenues increased in all categories, especially from individual income taxes. The CBO also detailed how coronavirus-era expenditures, including coronavirus aid, stimulus checks, and small-business loans, declined.

Establishment outlets such as CNN have noted Biden has, on net, increased the deficit. The outlet also noted the irony in championing cuts in the deficit on the same day that the administration announces an expensive effort to cancel student debt:

That’s despite the fact that deficits remain historically high and all of the record-breaking $1.4 trillion deficit drop is driven by the fact that emergency Covid spending has lapsed.

Hours later, Biden championed his student debt forgiveness program – a program that completely wipes out the modest deficit savings created by the Inflation Reduction Act.

Maya McGuineas, the president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said, “The White House is knowingly twisting the facts to tell a very different story than a fair and accurate one.”

Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler gave Biden “three Pinocchios” when the 46th president took credit for reducing the deficit:

Biden is citing real deficit-reduction numbers, but doing so in a way to mislead listeners.

The president is leaving out important context. The budget deficit was supposed to shrink as the massive spending caused by the pandemic faded.

Additionally, in 2019, the last year before the coronavirus pandemic, the deficit was roughly $984 billion. In 2022, the deficit was approximately $1.375 trillion, meaning that any deficit above that figure should not amount to a “cut.” It would be more akin to a cut in the growth of the deficit.

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