Remarks on the Federal Budget Deficit and an Exchange With Reporters
The President. Good morning.
I ran for President to rebuild the backbone of the middle class—this country—that's the backbone—to build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out and for—make sure the economy was stronger than it was before the pandemic.
Since I came to office, that's what we've done: historic vaccination efforts that saved lives, helped our economy recover from the lost jobs during the pandemic; 10 million jobs created, a record for any administration at this point in a Presidency; 3.5-percent unemployment—50-year low—a 50-year low; 700,000—nearly 700,000 manufacturing jobs created with companies investing billions of dollars to build industries of the future here in America, proving—proving—that "Made in America" is no longer just a slogan.
We're rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our ports, our airports. We're delivering clean water, high-speed internet to every American.
And the price of gas at the pump is coming down. It's down $1.20 since this summer, and just this week—last week, it's fallen another 10 cents.
And today we have further proof that we're rebuilding the economy in a responsible way. Today my administration announced that this year the deficit fell by $1.4 trillion, the largest 1-year drop in American history—$1.4 trillion decline in the deficit. Let me repeat that: the largest ever decline in the Federal deficit.
Let me be clear: This record deficit reduction includes the cost of my student loan plan and everything else we're paying for. The deficit is down $1.4 trillion this year, even after accounting for 30 years of debt relief paid in advance. You know, this follows last year's drop of $350 billion in the deficit.
And because we're making sure the largest corporations pay their fair share; cracking down on billionaire tax cheats; and giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices in the future beginning—just getting underway, which lowers one of the biggest costs that Government and families have to pay, we'll reduce, because of that, the deficit another $250 billion over the next 10 years.
You know, we're going from a historically strong economic recovery to a steady and stable growth while reducing the deficit, building an economy where everyone does well, where the poor have a ladder up, the middle class does well, and the wealthy do very well. They're not hurt by it.
And this is the economic vision I've had for America and the reason I ran—one of the reasons. Republicans in Congress have a very different vision. Now, listen to me closely: congressional Republicans love to call Democrats "big spenders," and they always claim to be for less Federal spending. But let's look at the facts.
The Federal deficit went up every single year in the Trump administration, every single year he was President. It went up before the pandemic. It went up during the pandemic. It went up every single year on his watch, the Republican watch. In fact, in 3 years before COVID hit, the deficit ballooned by another $400 billion. They're the facts.
And one big reason for that is, Republicans voted for $2 trillion tax cut—a Trump tax cut—which overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy and the biggest corporations. And that racked up the deficit significantly.
On my watch, things have been different. The deficit has come down both years that I've been in office. And I just signed legislation that's going to reduce it even more in the decades to come.
Now Republicans in Congress are doubling down on their commitment to explode the deficit again. Just this week—it's hard to make this stuff up—just this week, Republican leaders said if they get their way, they're going to extend the tax—the Trump tax cuts, which are due to expire in a couple years—extend them.
They said they'll repeal the corporate minimum tax of just 15 percent that I just signed into law—15 percent. They'd allow the largest and most prosperous corporations in America to go back to paying zero in Federal income tax, which 55 of them did in 2020.
They said they'll repeal the lower prescription drug costs and it will take effect next year, which that's—and they don't—these major reductions in drug costs don't really kick in until next year.
If Republicans repeal it, it's going to raise costs onto millions of seniors, and the cost of Federal Government—to the Federal Government will be billions of dollars.
Put it all together and the Republican plan would add about $3 trillion to the deficit—$3 trillion. That's their plan. That's what they did under my predecessor, and that's what they intend to do again. Adding another $3 trillion to the deficit is reckless, it's irresponsible, and it would make inflation worse.
For Americans, the deficit could not be clearer. We don't have to take their—my word for it, what they're for. They've laid out a plan that—out—and they laid it out very clearly. Congressional Republicans say—and you all know this—their number-one priority is to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act.
Now, here's what that means. If they get their way, the power we just gave Medicare to begin to negotiate lower prescriptions drugs goes away. Gone. If they get their way, the $2,000 cap on prescription drug costs, which takes effect next year—maximum any senior would have to pay, no matter what their drug costs are, would be $2,000. It goes away. Gone.
The $35-a-month cap on insulin, which takes effect next year for folks on Medicare—gone. The savings on health care premiums of $800 a year for millions of Americans under the Affordable Care Act—gone.
And of course, they're still determined to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which means an end to the protections for tens of millions of people who cannot afford health insurance because they have a preexisting condition. Let's remember that we're talking about millions of people who will lose their health insurance because they do not have a way to get it because they have a preexisting condition. That's gone as well.
And they're doing everything they can to get gas prices—we're doing everything we can to keep gas prices down, and the Republicans are against it all. And it's all part of the trickle-down mentality that says, "It doesn't matter what's happening on Main Street as long as Wall Street is feeling good."
One more thing. If you're worried about the economy, you need to know this: The Republican leadership in Congress has made it clear they will crash the economy next year by threatening the full faith and credit of the United States for the first time in our history, putting the United States in default unless—unless—we yield to their demand to cut Social Security and Medicare. You heard that one, right? You all heard them say that. That's what they're saying.
Let me be really clear: I will not yield. I will not cut Social Security. I will not cut Medicare, no matter how hard they work at it.
Folks, we know what the Republicans in Congress will do if they regain power. They're telling us. They're being straight up about it. They're going to repeal lower prescription drug prices I just signed into law and raise drug prices. They're going to cut Social Security and Medicare.
They'll pass massive tax cuts for the wealthy, make them permanent, which they're not now, the individual tax cuts. They'll threaten the very foundations of the American economy if we don't meet their demands.
And they talk about inflation. Everything they proposed—are proposing will make inflation worse. Everything they're proposing would make inflation worse.
Let me close with this: Over the last few years, we've faced some of the most difficult challenges in our history both at home and abroad, but we're making real progress. We just have to keep going. I know we can.
For everything we've been through, I've never been more optimistic about our—America's future. We just have to remember who we are. We're the United States of America, and there's nothing beyond our capacity.
And we're better positioned than any other country in the world to get through this difficult period. Inflation is worse all around the world.
So keep the faith. Keep the faith. And God bless you, and may God protect our troops.
And I want to say one more thing actually. You know, I know—and I don't blame you—you want to ask me about the midterms. [Laughter] And here's what I think: It's been back and forth with them ahead, us ahead, them ahead. Back and forth. And the polls have been all over the place. I think that we're going to see one more shift back to our side in the closing days.
And let me tell you why I think that. We're starting to see some of the good news on the economy. Gas prices are down sharply in 46 of the 50 States because of what I've been doing. We're moving in the right direction, and there's more to come.
State unemployment today—State unemployment—was alltime lows in 11 States, and 17 States have unemployment rates under 3 percent. The new deficit numbers, there's a—it's a record—a record decrease. It's never happened before.
The election is not a referendum, it's a choice. It's a choice. And the Republicans criticized my economic record, but look at what I've inherited and what I've done.
And look at what they're offering. They want to double down on the Trump tax cuts for the wealthy, make them permanent because they're going to expire in 2025. They want to send jobs overseas where big corporations can, in fact, pay lower wages, increase their profits. And these are tax cuts that give most benefits to billionaires and wealthy corporations.
And let's get specific. They want to abolish the 15 percent—15 percent; what a terrible thing to ask a corporation to pay—15-percent tax that I insisted that those 55 corporations who made $40 billion and didn't pay a red cent. They now—my God, they've got to pay 15 percent.
If Republicans get their way, the deficit is going to soar, the tax burden is going to fall on the middle class. And Republicans are working really hard.
This is—this one comes—I have to admit: Every once in a while, they surprise me. They have three—not one, not two—three plans to cut Social Security benefits. Three plans. And they're not going to stop there.
They're going to do Big Pharma's bidding to repeal my plan to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drugs prices. And we pay the highest in the world. In doing so, it's going to raise drug prices, and they're going to raise Big Pharma's profits. They're doing fine, Big Pharma. They're not hurting at all. And they're going to raise your health insurance premiums.
It's mega-MAGA trickle-down—mega-MAGA trickle-down—the kind of policies that have failed the country before and will fail it again. And it will mean more wealth to the very wealthy, higher inflation for the middle class. That's the choice we're facing. That's why I think that we're going to do just fine.
Q. Mr. President, on the debt—on the debt ceiling.
Q. Mr. President, speaking of midterms——
Public Debt Limit
Q. On the debt ceiling, do you support the permanent repeal of the debt ceiling, sir?
The President. The permanent repeal of the debt ceiling? What do you mean?
Q. Of the debt limit. Yes.
The President. You mean, just say we don't have a debt limit?
Q. No debt limit.
The President. No.
The President. That would be irresponsible.
Q. On Ukraine, sir. We—we have the—you have the——
Q. Speaking of midterms, last night you said——
Q. ——means and the will to continue supporting Ukraine?
The President. Wait, wait, he—let's get one at a time. Okay?
Q. Thank you, sir. So you heard the Republicans. You have the means and the will to continue supporting Ukraine?
The President. Yes, because if we support Ukraine, we're supporting all of Europe, we're supporting NATO. Do you think that Mr. Putin decides he's just going to deal with Ukraine and that's the end of it? This—no. I—don't understand the threat that they're saying they may have to stop funding the Ukrainians in their war against this brutal dictator.
Yes. Last one.
2022 Congressional Elections
Q. On the midterms, sir. Last night you said you need 53, not 51, votes to pass your agenda.
The President. I'm just getting greedy.
Q. What did you mean by that? Were you referring to Manchin and Sinema?
The President. No, I just think the more we have, the more certain. Fifty-one just gives me one more. I'd like to have three more. It'd make it a lot easier.
Thank you very much. Thanks.
NOTE: The President spoke at 11:34 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin of Russia. A reporter referred to Sens. Joseph A. Manchin III and Kyrsten L. Sinema.
Joseph R. Biden, Remarks on the Federal Budget Deficit and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/358479