President Biden State of the Union 2023 fact-check
The VERIFICATION team analyzed President Joe Biden’s statements during his 2023 State of the Union speech.
President Joe Biden delivered his second State of the Union address to a divided Congress on Tuesday, February 7, with Republicans in control of the House and Democrats in control of the Senate. Biden addressed some of the most pressing issues facing Americans at home and abroad, including the precarious economic situation, inflation, gun violence, and the war in Ukraine. Additionally, he credits his administration with victories over the past year, such as reducing the deficit and capping insulin prices.
The VERIFICATION team verified the veracity of the statements from Biden’s address.
This article will be updated as we check the claim.
President Biden: “Over the past two years, my administration has cut the deficit by more than $1.7 trillion — the largest deficit reduction in American history.”
As Biden claims, the deficit has fallen to record levels over the past two years. But his statement lacks the critical context that the decline is due to the temporary end of COVID-19 relief spending.
WHAT WE FIND
A budget deficit is the result of the government spending more money than it receives from taxes and other sources in a given year.
The deficit has fallen from a record high of about $3.13 trillion under the administration of President Donald Trump in 2020 to about $1.38 trillion in 2022, Treasury data shows. see. This reduces the deficit by about $1.75 trillion.
It was the largest deficit reduction in US history, as Biden claims, according to data from the Federal Reserve.
But Biden’s statement left out the important context of the deficit decline.
May MacGuineas, chair of the bipartisan Committee on Responsible Federal Budgets (CRFB), said the deficit “spiked up” in fiscal years 2020 and 2021, “largely due to the COVID relief and recession.” economy”.
According to the CRFB, the entire reduction in the deficit in 2022 is the result of “reduced or expired COVID relief packages”.
MacGuineas said in fiscal year 2024, the final year of Biden’s current term, the deficit “will likely be higher than it is today.” This is partly because the Biden administration has approved nearly $5 trillion in new loans over the next 10 years to date, she said.
President Biden: “Unemployment rate” [is] at 3.4%, the lowest level in 50 years.”
Well, the current unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 50 years.
WHAT WE FIND
The unemployment rate is measured by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In January 2023, the unemployment rate was 3.4% – the last time it was as low as 54 years ago in May 1969.
Josh Bivens, research director at the Economic Policy Institute, told VERIFY that unemployment is at a record low in part because of the financial support provided in the wake of the recession. The US government has spent at least $5.2 trillion fighting COVID-19 and its economic impact.
Bivens said the unemployment rate has also been kept low due to the reduction in the size of the workforce following the pandemic. The labor force participation rate in 2022 is lower than it was before the pandemic.
President Biden: “We created a record 12 million new jobs – more jobs created in two years than any president has created in four years.”
No, President Biden has not created more jobs in two years than any president in four years. There was a four-year period where former president Bill Clinton created more jobs than when he was in office.
WHAT WE FIND
Although President Biden created more than 12 million jobs in a two-year period, that number is no more than any other president has created in a four-year period.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), when Biden took office in January 2021, there were nearly 143 million jobs. Two years later, there are now 155 million jobs, an increase of more than 12.1 million jobs.
Using data from the BLS dating back to 1939, VERIFY found that there was a four-year period of more job creation — from 1996 to 2000, during Bill Clinton’s presidency. More than 12.4 million jobs were added to the US economy during that time.
If we consider only single presidential terms, Biden is right: no other president has created more jobs in a single term. But he didn’t say the terms, he said “for four years.”
Those four years spanned Clinton’s first and second terms, so the growth wasn’t confined to one term. However, it happened over a period of four years, making this claim false.
President Biden: “Forever ban on assault weapons. We have done that before. I led the fight to ban them in 1994.”
Yes, there has been an assault weapons ban before, and President Biden spearheaded that effort at the time.
WHAT WE FIND
In November 1993, then-Senator Joe Biden was the sole sponsor of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1993. That crime bill, along with another of the The House of Representatives, combined to create the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, was passed into law under the Clinton administration in September 1994.
The bill to ban civilian use of semi-automatic weapons is defined as an assault weapon or a firearm that uses several high-capacity magazines as ammunition.
But there is a sunset – or expiration date – clause on the bill. It has expired after 10 years and has not been renewed. There is currently no ban on assault weapons in the United States.
President Biden: “We limit insulin costs to $35 a month for seniors on Medicare.”
Yes, insulin costs are capped at $35 a month for Medicare patients.
WHAT WE FIND
The Inflation Reduction Act limits the price of insulin for Medicare patients to $35 a month, but does not apply to those with private insurance.
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), more than 63 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare, and one in three Medicare patients has diabetes.
Casey Decker, Kelly Jones, Meg Loe, Trevin Smith, Bryce Robinson, Eleni Hosack, Lindsay Claiborn and Sara Roth contributed to this report.
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