President Biden is facing pushback from fact-checkers over a recent speech he delivered in Virginia regarding the economic progress his administration has made during his tenure in the White House.
Speaking at the Steamfitters Local 602 in Springfield on Thursday, Biden made multiple claims about the current state of the economy that have fact-checkers — from both CNN and the House Ways and Means Committee — sounding the alarm.
Following his remarks, CNN reporter Daniel Dale, who works to fact-check political claims for the outlet, accused Biden of making “false and misleading claims.”
“Some of Biden’s claims in the speech were false, misleading or lacking critical context, though others were correct,” Dale wrote in a piece examining Biden’s remarks.
Topping the list of fact-checks from Dale was Biden’s claim that his administration has “funded 700,000 major construction projects – 700,000 all across America,” which the White House has admitted is not the case.
“Biden’s ‘700,000’ figure is wildly inaccurate; it adds an extra two zeros to the correct figure Biden used in a speech last week and the White House has also used before: 7,000 projects,” Dale wrote, noting that the White House altered Biden’s transcript from the speech to reflect the accurate number.
Dale also took aim at Biden for his claim that “only 3.5 million people had been — even had their first vaccination” when former President Donald Trump left office in January 2021.
The actual number people who had received their first shot against COVID-19 when Trump left office in January 2021 was about 19 million, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. The 3.5 million figure refers to those who had received two rounds of the shot.
Biden also faced scrutiny from CNN over his claim that billionaires “pay virtually only 3% of their income now – 3%, they pay,” a comment that was later walked back by the White House.
“Biden’s ‘3%’ claim is incorrect. For the second time in less than a week, Biden inaccurately described a 2021 finding from economists in his administration that the wealthiest 400 billionaire families paid an average of 8.2% of their income in federal individual income taxes between 2010 and 2018,” Dale wrote. “After CNN inquired about Biden’s ‘3%’ claim on Thursday, the White House published a corrected official transcript that uses ‘8%’ instead.”
Pointing to comments made by Biden about federal debt under Trump and that his administration “cut the deficit by $1.7 trillion, the largest reduction in debt in American history,” Dale insisted that it’s “highly questionable” how much of the credit Biden deserves.
“Biden’s boast leaves out important context. It is true that the federal deficit fell by a total of $1.7 trillion under Biden in the 2021 and 2022 fiscal years, including a record $1.4 trillion drop in 2022 — but it is highly questionable how much credit Biden deserves for this reduction,” Dale wrote. “Biden did not mention that the primary reason the deficit fell so substantially was that it had skyrocketed to a record high under Trump in 2020 because of bipartisan emergency pandemic relief spending, then fell as expected as the spending expired as planned. Independent analysts say Biden’s own actions, including his laws and executive orders, have had the overall effect of adding to current and projected future deficits, not reducing those deficits.”
In addition to CNN, Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee targeted Biden’s remarks from Thursday with a fact-check, claiming that the president “did not let the facts get in the way of his speech in Springfield.”
“While Biden claimed the economy is growing strong, the latest report on economic growth reveals that the economy under his Administration’s policies has fallen short of expectations on seven out of the last eight economic growth reports,” the committee wrote. “In fact, the entirety of 2022 was worse for economic growth than expected. And even more trouble lies ahead, according to the latest Leading Economic Index report.”
Listing five recent “misleading” claims from the president that the committee found fault with, the Republicans wrote: “President Biden has been making inaccurate accusations about Republicans and fearmongering to scare seniors when Republicans have been clear we are not going to touch their retirement security. Biden has also been making Medicare and Social Security worse off — not protecting them. Medicare premiums have risen for seniors since 2020, while Biden’s ongoing inflation crisis has pushed Social Security further towards insolvency.”
Biden recently faced criticism from FactCheck.org over claims he had made regarding unemployment during his speech at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ winter meeting last week.
During the speech, according to FactCheck.org, Biden “botched a statistic on the number of people receiving unemployment benefits, misidentifying them simply as the number of people ‘out of work.’”
“His comment leaves the false impression that unemployment declined by more than 16 million people on his watch, when the decline was actually under 5 million,” the nonprofit website concluded. “And a big reason for the large decline in unemployment benefits is the expiration of pandemic-related expansions of such benefits.”
“Two years ago this week, 18 million people were out of work — two years ago this week,” Biden said at the conference. “Now the — that number is under 1.6 million, near the lowest level in decades.”
“The White House transcript notes that the line drew applause,” FactCheck.org stated. “But it’s not accurate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people ‘out of work’ — or officially unemployed — in the U.S. in January 2021 was about 10.2 million, and the number in December 2022 was 5.7 million.”