State of the Union: Biden vows to cut deficit by $1 trillion by end of the year
The president provided few details in his speech as to how the goal would be achieved
President Biden pledged in his first State of the Union speech Tuesday night to trim the U.S. deficit by $1 trillion by the end of 2022, but he was light on details as to how that might be achieved given his agenda that includes trillions in new spending.
"By the end of this year, the deficit will be down to less than half what it was before I took office," Biden said in his address, adding that he would be "the only president ever to cut the deficit by more than one trillion dollars in a single year."
The federal deficit hit a record $3.1 trillion in fiscal year 2020, and was $2.77 trillion in fiscal year 2021, according to U.S. government data.
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The president did not go into specifics on achieving that goal directly but he made the vow while discussing his broader economic agenda, which has long included raising taxes on corporations and individuals making $400,000 a year. He also laid out spending initiatives aimed at lowering everyday costs for Americans while inflation sits at a 40-year high.
Biden went on to tout several planks of his Build Back Better agenda without naming the bill. The $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act pushed by Democrats stalled in Congress last year due to moderate Democrats, namely Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, balking at the plan due to its high price tag.
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But the president continued to push several elements of the plan in his speech Tuesday night, urging Congress to pass sweeping social spending as part of the agenda, including federal funds for childcare expenses and universal Pre-K.
Biden also reiterated his call for increased spending to combat climate change, claiming it would save families $500 per year in saved energy costs, and supplementing the purchase of electric vehicles, saying that would save people "another $80 a month because you’ll never have to pay at the gas pump again."
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The president further re-upped his vow to bolster IRS tax enforcement, a key priority of his administration. But that mission has also faced hurdles during his first year in office amid pushback, such as the Treasury Department's failed efforts to require facial recognition for taxpayers and to force banks to report on the financial transactions of nearly every American.