WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — President Joe Biden highlighted deficit reduction in remarks Wednesday at the White House, noting that the government will pay down the national debt this quarter for the first time in six years.
“I reduced the federal deficit $350 billion in my first year in office. I don’t want to hear Republicans talk about deficits. I want to hear about fairness and decency,” Biden said.
Besides the quarterly reduction in the national debt, the Treasury Department estimates that this fiscal year’s budget deficit will decline $1.5 trillion this year. That decrease marks an improvement from initial forecasts and would likely put the annual deficit below $1.3 trillion.
Biden said the new reductions will “grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out.”
“This is about everybody doing better,” Biden added.
Biden emphasized that strong job gains have increased overall incomes and led to additional tax revenues that have improved the government’s balance sheet.
The Democratic president has placed renewed emphasis on deficit reduction going into the midterm election, with administration officials saying that the burst of $1.9 trillion in coronavirus relief approved in 2021 has already paid off in the form of faster growth that now makes it easier to stabilize government finances.
Deficit reduction also matches a priority of Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the key Democratic vote in the evenly split Senate who blocked the passage of Biden’s domestic and environmental agenda in December. The reduction also occurs amid rising interest rates on U.S. Treasury notes, a consequence of inflation running at a 40-year peak and the Federal Reserve’s efforts to reduce price pressures.
It is unclear if greater fiscal responsibility can deliver politically for Biden as Democrats try to defend control of Congress. His two most recent Democratic predecessors, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, also cut budget deficits, only to leave office and see their Republican successors use the savings on tax cuts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.