WH Spokeswoman: 'The President's Record on Fiscal Responsibility Is Second to--to None'

Susan Jones | August 26, 2022 | 12:22pm EDT
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White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during a press briefing on August 25, 2022. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during a press briefing on August 25, 2022. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - No one knows for sure how much President Biden's student loan forgiveness plan will cost. But reporters keep on asking.

"Do you have a better sense of how much the plan will cost?" a reporter asked White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre on Thursday:

Jean-Pierre noted that Biden adviser Susan Rice took the same question on Wednesday, when the plan was announced. And Rice did not have an answer. Neither does Jean-Pierre, but she did offer a defense of her boss:

"So, you know, the president's record on fiscal responsibility is second to -- to none. And last year alone, you've heard us talk about this because this is incredibly important.

"We -- he achieved $350 billion in deficit reduction. And this year, it's projected by the end of the fiscal year to be at $1.7 trillion deficit reduction. This is historic. What -- what we're talking about here is historic numbers because of the work that this president has done when it comes to the economy.

"And the previous administration added about two -- added debt every year of -- of his administration. And one of the things that we continue to do is make sure that we bring out that debt -- bring down the debt. If you look at the Inflation Reduction Act, we have -- is projected to decrease the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next two decades even after taking this action.

"So, that is also important to note as well. Look, but just to reiterate what my colleague said yesterday, the domestic policy adviser, it will also -- all of this as -- when it comes to costs will also depend on how many of the loans cancel were actually expected to be repaid. It will depend on how many borrowers actually take up this opportunity before we have a real sense.

"But again, we have -- we have a deficit reduction that is historic. And we also know, this last piece here, is that independent experts like Goldman Sachs agree that the president's plan will not have -- will not have any meaningful impact on inflation. In fact, Goldman Sachs and others estimate that it will reduce inflation.

"So, that's just one more thing that I wanted to add because I know that's been a question that others have had."

As CNSNews.com reported last week:

"In the first 18 full months that Joe Biden has been president — February 2021 through July 2022 — the federal government has spent $9,728,646,000,000, according to data published in the Monthly Treasury Statement.

"Even when the historical spending numbers are adjusted for inflation into July 2022 dollars (using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator), no recent president comes close to having spent that kind of money in their first year and a half in office.

"President Donald Trump spent $7,274,266,740,000 in July 2022 dollars in his first 18 full months. President Barack Obama spent $7,166,360,490,000. President George W. Bush spent $4,835,392,120,000..."

Another reporter at Thursday's news conference noted that Biden has used the phrase "fully paid for" many times since becoming president:

"Do you all believe that this -- this student loan program is fully paid for? And if it's not, why does the president think it was important to have all of his other spending priorities fully paid for to be fiscally responsible, but not this one?" the reporter asked.

Jean-Pierre said, "We have to get a better sense, right, of what we're talking about as far as cost...but we do believe it will be fully paid for because of the -- because of the work that this president has done with the economy, because of what you just said -- well, what I just said, is what we have done to -- to bring down the deficit, the deficit reduction.

"That matters, and the work that we'll continue to do."

Jean-Pierre said fiscal responsibility is the reason why the administration didn't do $50,000 in student loan forgiveness, cancelling $20,000 (or $10,000) instead.

"But what we have done is fiscally responsible, what the last administration did was not, it just was not. And what they did with cutting -- cutting taxes for the wealthy, they all -- they -- 85 percent of folks -- folks making -- it went to 85 percent of folks who are making more than 75,000 a year.

"We actually did -- we're actually doing the opposite. And it should matter that this president is trying to give some breathing room for people who've been literally crippled by this -- by -- by -- by this pandemic, by what has happened the last couple of years. And so, again, the way we see it is we've done it in a fiscal balance, responsible way."

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