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Washington Watch: Biden talks up deficit reduction, as watchdog says it’s ‘highly misleading’

President Joe Biden on Wednesday morning is slated to give an economic speech at the White House that highlights cuts to the federal deficit, even as some watchdogs have criticized his rhetoric around reducing red ink.

He is slated to speak at 11 a.m. Eastern “on economic growth, jobs and deficit reduction,” according to the White House’s press office.

Biden has been talking up “historic” deficit reduction as a way to win over a key Democratic senator — West Virginia’s Joe Manchin — who has blocked Biden’s Build Back Better spending plan and wants to see Washington focused on closing the budget gap and fighting high inflation.

The president’s rhetoric on eliminating red ink has drawn flak from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan watchdog organization.

“While President Biden’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 budget calls for $1.05 trillion of welcomed deficit reduction, the administration has largely been focused on taking credit for the expected $1.3 trillion fall in the deficit between FY 2021 and 2022,” the organization said in a blog post last month.

“The administration touting this victory is highly misleading; deficits are falling mainly because COVID relief is ending, and deficits will remain high even after this decline.”

Biden’s remarks come after his Treasury Department on Monday surprised observers by announcing that it plans to pay down $26 billion in debt in the second quarter.

The president’s speech initially had been scheduled for 2 p.m. Eastern, but the White House move up the time for his remarks to 11 a.m.

The Federal Reserve at 2 p.m. Eastern is expected to announce its biggest hike in interest rates in 20 years — a half-percentage-point rise — as the American central bank aims to combat the highest U.S. inflation in 40 years. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is due to speak at a news conference at 2:30 p.m.

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were mixed in choppy trade, as investors braced for the Fed’s move and Powell’s comments.

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