Biden Falsely Claims: ‘We’ve Reduced the National Debt, So Far, $1.7 Trillion in Two Years’

( – When speaking at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in New York City on Tuesday, President Joe Biden falsely claimed that his administration had cut the federal “debt” by $1.7 trillion during his first two years in office.

In fact, according to the U.S. Treasury, during Biden’s first two years in office—Jan. 20, 2021 through Jan. 20, 2023—the federal debt increased by approximately $3.7 trillion.

“The two years since we’ve been in power, we’ve reduced the national debt, so far, $1.7 trillion in two years.  The—the debt—$1.7 trillion,” Biden said, according to the transcript of his remarks posted by the White House.

“And we still grew the economy.  But we did it because we paid for everything.  We paid for everything, and we grew the economy at the same time,” said Biden.

On Jan. 20, 2021, the day Biden was inaugurated, the debt was $27,751,896,236,414.70, according to the official numbers posted online by the U.S. Treasury.


On Jan. 20, 2023, two years into Biden’s presidency, the debt was $31,454,980,005,742.40, according to the Treasury.

The $31,454,980,005,742.40 in debt held by the federal government as of Jan. 23 of this year was $3,703,083,769,327.70 more than the $27,751,896,236,414.70 in debt the federal government held on Jan. 20, 2021.

Biden may have been mistaking the federal deficit for the federal debt. The deficit is the amount that the federal government spends in excess of its revenues in a given fiscal year. The debt is the money the federal government borrows to cover its deficits.

From fiscal 2020—the year the COVID-19 pandemic hit—to fiscal 2022 (the last full fiscal year on record), the annual federal deficit did drop by $1,756,431,000,000. In fiscal 2020, the deficit was $3,131,917,000,000. In fiscal 2022, it was 1,375,486,000,000. Thus, even though the deficit dropped $1.756 trillion from its pandemic-year high of $3.131 trillion, it still remained above a trillion dollars last year at $1.375 trillion.

In 2019, the fiscal year before the COVID pandemic hit, the federal deficit was $984,388,000,000. In fiscal 2018, it was $778,996,000,000. In fiscal 2017, $665,826,000,000. In fiscal 2016, it was $585,646,000,000.

In Table S-10 of the fiscal 2023 budget proposal he published last March, President Biden proposed increasing the federal debt (which is currently subject to a statutory limitation) by $1.302 trillion in fiscal 2023, $1.374 trillion in fiscal 2024, and $1,402 trillion in fiscal 2025.

Under Biden’s budget proposal, as spelt out in Table S-10, the total federal debt subject to statutory limitation would increase from the $28.401 trillion it had reached at the end of fiscal 2021 (in Biden’s first year of office) to $44.814 trillion at the end of fiscal 2032.

That would be an increase in the debt of $16.413 trillion in eleven years—or $1.49 trillion per year.


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