Biden touts 'record' deficit reduction, slams GOP's' economic plans ahead of midterms

The deficit fell to $1.4 trillion from $2.8 trillion a year ago.

October 21, 2022, 1:04 PM

President Joe Biden took a victory lap on Friday on deficit reduction, framing new numbers as proof his economic agenda is working ahead of the midterm elections.

"Today, my administration announced that this year, the deficits fell by $1.4 trillion," Biden said, calling it, "the largest one year drop in American history."

The deficit fell to $1.4 trillion for fiscal year 2022 from $2.8 trillion a year ago, according to the Treasury Department. Federal spending also declined by $550 billion, an 8% drop from fiscal year 2021.

The reduction includes the cost of the administration's new plan to forgive some student loan debt, Biden said, which is estimated to add $430 billion to the deficit. The loan forgiveness program has been criticized by many Republicans, who say it's unfair to taxpayers and those who didn't attend college.

"Today we have further proof that we're rebuilding the economy in a responsible way," Biden said.

The economy is the top issue heading into the Nov. 8 races, polls show, as Americans face high inflation and gas prices.

The latest ABC News\Washington Post poll showed Republicans leading the Democrats by 16 points in trust to handle the economy overall and by 19 points in trust to handle inflation. Biden's approval rating on the economy was underwater at just 36%.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks about the administration's deficit reduction in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Oct. 21, 2022.
President Joe Biden speaks about the administration's deficit reduction in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Oct. 21, 2022. The U.S. budget deficit fell by half in the past year to $1.4 trillion on the back of a pandemic recovery and as relief spending eased, the government said.
Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The latest forecast models from FiveThirtyEight show Republicans favored to win back the House and Democrats slightly favored to keep majority control of the Senate.

Still, addressing the upcoming midterm elections on Friday, Biden predicted that Democrats will be boosted by the recent economic news.

"I think that we're going to see one more shift back to our side in the closing days because we're seeing the good news on the economy," Biden said. "Gas is down sharply in 46 of the 50 states because of what I've been doing, we're moving in the right direction, there's more to come."

"The election is not a referendum," Biden added. "It's a choice. It's a choice. And the Republican criticized my economic record, but look at what I've inherited and what I've done."

The president also took the opportunity to criticize Republicans for driving up the deficit, which he attributed to their support for former President Donald Trump's 2017 tax plan.

"The federal deficit went up every single year in the Trump administration, every single year he was president," Biden said. "It went up before the pandemic. It went up during the pandemic. It went up every single year on his watch, Republican's watch."

Biden warned that the proposals put forward by Republicans if they win back control of Congress -- such as repealing lower prescription drug prices and rolling back the 15% minimum corporate tax -- would make inflation "worse."

"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," he said.

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