In MLK Day speech, Biden calls Republicans 'fiscally demented' while claiming he cut deficit
"This year, federal deficit is down $1 trillion-plus. That’s a fact," President Biden said.
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President Joe Biden called Republicans “fiscally demented” on Monday as he delivered the keynote speech at the National Action Network’s (NAN) annual breakfast celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
He also took credit for cutting the U.S. budget deficit just days after his Treasury Department reported an increase.
“They’re gonna talk about big-spending Democrats again,” Biden said of Republicans. “Guess what? I reduced the deficit last year $350 billion. This year, federal deficit is down $1 trillion-plus. That’s a fact. And there’s gonna be hundreds of billions reduced over the next decade.
"But so what? These guys are the fiscally demented, I think. They don’t quite get it,” he added as the crowd laughed, The Hill reported.
According to the Treasury Department, “the federal government has spent $421 billion more than it has collected in fiscal year (FY) 2023, resulting in a national deficit.”
“Compared to the national deficit of $378 billion for the same period last year (Oct 2021 - Dec 2021), our national deficit has increased by $44 billion,” the Treasury Department added.
“In FY 2022, the federal government spent $6.27 trillion and collected $4.90 trillion in revenue, resulting in a deficit,” the department added.
During his speech, Biden explained his view of the economy while continuing to criticize Republican policies.
“I think the economy — the way it should grow in America — is from the bottom up and the middle out. That way poor folks have a shot, middle-class people do well and the wealthy still do very well. They still do very well. But they start to pay their fair share,” Biden said.
He added that while he’s “ready to work” with the Republican House majority, he was disappointed by the first few bills they introduced in the chamber.
“Like many Americans, I was disappointed to see the very first bill that House Republicans… are bringing to the floor,” Biden said. “It would help the wealthy people and big corporations cheat on their taxes at the expense of ordinary middle-class taxpayers… This is their first bill and they campaigned on inflation. They didn’t say if elected their plan was to make inflation worse.”
He later added, “We have the most vibrant economy in the world right now. We’re doing better than any other major nation in the world today… The path is clear to go forward. We need to go together.”
Biden also criticized Republicans over their stance on his student loan forgiveness plan.
“These are the same folks who didn’t have any problem at all, any problem at all, during the pandemic… [making] sure they get these so-called pandemic relief loans… A lot of these folks in the Congress on the Republican side were beneficiaries of these debt relief loans to the tune of tens of millions of dollars,” he said.
“I did not hear a word from them about ‘They shouldn’t be getting that relief.’ … And they’re complaining about some kid being able to take away $20,000 of student debt that keeps him and his wife or his husband, her husband from being able to buy a home or start a business or just get going?” Biden continued, adding that he’s confident his plan will overcome the legal challenges against it.
Biden noted that he approved of Democrats and Republicans working together on the Electoral Count Reform Act and urged Congress to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to protect “the sacred right to vote.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton introduced Biden at the breakfast, and the president spoke before an audience of around 350 attendees, including civil rights leaders and members of Congress.