President Biden State of the Union 2023 fact check
The VERIFY team analyzed claims made by President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address in 2023.
President Joe Biden delivered his second State of the Union address Tuesday, Feb. 7, before a separate Congress where Republicans controlled the House of Representatives and Democrats controlled the Senate. Biden addressed some of the most pressing issues Americans face at home and abroad, including the uncertain economic climate, inflation, gun violence and the war in Ukraine. He also credited his administration with achievements over the past year, such as reducing the deficit and capping insulin prices.
The VERIFY team fact-checked claims made by Biden’s address.
This article will be updated as we fact-check claims.
President Biden: “In the last two years, my administration has reduced the deficit by more than $1.7 trillion — the largest deficit reduction in American history.”
The deficit has shrunk by a record amount in the last two years, as Biden claimed. However, his claim lacks key context, attributing this decline to the end of temporary COVID-19 relief spending.
WHAT WE FOUND
A budget deficit is the result that in a given year the government spends more money than it collects in revenue from taxes and other sources.
The deficit fell from a record high of about $3.13 trillion during President Donald Trump’s administration in 2020 to about $1.38 trillion in 2022. Treasury Department data show. This equates to a deficit reduction of about $1.75 trillion.
That’s the largest deficit reduction in American history, as claimed by Biden, according to the US government federal reserve.
But Biden’s claim omits an important context about the deficit decline.
The deficit “exploded” in fiscal 2020 and 2021, “largely due to COVID relief and the resulting recession,” May MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee on Federal Budget Responsibility (CRFB), told VERIFY.
The total deficit decrease in 2022 was the result of “shrinking or expiring COVID relief,” according to the CRFB.
By fiscal 2024, the last of Biden’s current term, the deficit will “probably be higher than it is today,” MacGuineas said. That’s in part because the Biden administration has approved nearly $5 trillion in new borrowing over the next 10 years so far, she said.
President Biden: “Unemployment rate [is] at 3.4%, a 50-year low.”
Yes, the current unemployment rate is the lowest in 50 years.
WHAT WE FOUND
The unemployment rate is measured by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In January 2023, the unemployment rate was 3.4% – it was last this low 54 years ago in May 1969.
Josh Bivens, director of research at the Economic Policy Institute, told VERIFY that unemployment is hitting record lows in part because of fiscal support provided in the wake of the pandemic recession. The The US government spent at least $5.2 trillion to combat COVID-19 and its economic impact.
Unemployment has also been kept low due to post-pandemic reductions in the workforce, Bivens said. The activity rate was lower in 2022 than before the pandemic.
President Biden: “We created a record 12 million new jobs — more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years.”
No, President Biden hasn’t created more jobs in two years than any president has in four years. There was a four-year period when former President Bill Clinton added more jobs during his tenure.
WHAT WE FOUND
While President Biden has created more than 12 million jobs in a two-year period, that’s no more than any other president has created in a four-year period.
There were nearly 143 million jobs when he took office in January 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Two years later there are now 155 million jobs, a growth of more than 12.1 million jobs.
Using BLS data going back to 1939, VERIFY found that there was a four-year period when more jobs were created — between 1996 and 2000, during the Clinton presidency. During that time, more than 12.4 million jobs were created in the US economy.
If we only look at individual terms, Biden is right: No other president has created more jobs in a single term. But he didn’t say any conditions, he said “in four years”.
Those four years span Clinton’s first and second terms, so the growth wasn’t just one term. Still, it happened over a four-year period, which makes this claim wrong.
President Biden: “Ban assault weapons once and for all. We’ve done it before. I fought the fight to ban them in 1994.”
Yes, there has been a ban on assault weapons before, and President Biden led that effort at the time.
WHAT WE FOUND
In November 1993, then-Senator Joe Biden was the sole sponsor of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act 1993. This crime bill was combined with another bill in the House to create this Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act 1994what was passed into law under the Clinton administration in September 1994.
The bill banned the civilian use of semi-automatic weapons, which were defined as assault weapons, or firearms that used certain large-capacity magazines for ammunition.
But there was an expiration clause on the bill—or an expiration date. It expired after 10 years and was not renewed. There is currently no ban on assault weapons in the United States.
President Biden: “We capped insulin costs for seniors on Medicare at $35 per month.”
Yes, the cost of insulin is capped at $35 per month for Medicare patients.
WHAT WE FOUND
The Anti-Inflation Act capped insulin prices to $35 per month for Medicare patients, but not for those with private insurance.
More than 63 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare, and one in three Medicare patients have it diabetesaccording to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Casey Decker, Kelly Jones, Meg Loe, Trevin Smith, Bryce Robinson, Eleni Hosack, Lindsay Claiborn, and Sara Roth contributed to this report.
https://www.kvue.com/article/news/verify/government-verify/fact-checking-president-bidens-2023-state-of-the-union-address/536-c77f3c68-af8d-4026-b586-95e9651dde5a President Biden State of the Union 2023 fact check