Pelosi: Were It Not for Obama, $19,951,756,200,280 Debt Would Be Higher

By Penny Starr | January 13, 2017 | 2:00pm EST

House Minority Leader Nancy

Pelosi (D-Calif.)   (AP) 

( – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Friday that were it not for "the work" of President Barack Obama, the federal debt would have increased even more than the $9 trillion that it has increased over the eight years of his presidency.

“Absent the work of President Obama this national debt would be even higher,” Pelosi said at her weekly briefing with reporters at the Capitol when asked about the increase in the federal budget under Obama.

According to the U.S. Treasury, the federal debt rose from $10,626,877,048,913.08 when Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009 to $19,951,756,200,280.98 on Jan. 11, 2017, the latest day for which the number is available. That is an increase of $9,324,879,151,367.90. asked Pelosi: “The federal debt has increased by more than $9 trillion during Obama’s time in office. Do you regret that President Obama never balanced the budget?”

“As I’ve said over and over again: Show me your budget, show me your values,” Pelosi said. “And we see today on the reconciliation a clue. We haven’t seen the full budget because that will come later.”

“When (Obama) stood on the steps of the Capitol eight years from next week the deficit was $1.4 trillion--one-year deficit,” Pelosi said. “It’s reduced by 70 percent in his administration.”


“Much of the increase in the national debt that’s occurred during this time still springs from two unpaid-for wars, costs that we owe our veterans following that; the giveaways that they gave to the pharmaceutical industry; and the high-end tax cuts that have carried forward without any job production,” Pelosi said.

“Absent the work of President Obama this national debt would be even higher,” she said. “Just to remind you, when President Clinton was in office, the last five of his budgets were in balance or in surplus.”

“He had us on a path of $5.4 trillion in debt reduction,” Pelosi said. “Not deficit, debt reduction -- as opposed to an annual deficit – the debt reduction. President Bush came to office, he reversed all of that.

“Under President Clinton, as well as President Obama, we’re operating on a pay-as- you-go basis,” Pelosi said. “You want to make an investment, you offset it or pay for it, but you cannot increase the deficit.”

“That is how we operated under President Clinton,” Pelosi said. “That is what took the deficit down.”

“President Bush became president, he threw pay-as-you-go out the window and took us on a reverse path --$5.4 trillion in debt, adding to that,” Pelosi said. “So it is like an $11 trillion swing in the national debt. Very irresponsible.

“Some of the things I mentioned, at the time CBO said it was two unpaid-for wars, give away to the pharmaceutical industry; and tax cuts for the high end, which were not producing job creation or revenue to the treasury in the manner that a tax cut might geared to the middle class,” Pelosi said.

President Barack Obama.  (AP) 

“So coming back now, we had pay-as-you-go and the debt was coming down, the deficit was reduced – Republicans come in, throw pay-as-you-go out the window,” Pelosi said. “They make us pay for any investment in education that we might make but they won’t pay for tax cuts for the wealthy.”

“So it’s pay-as-you-go for investments to grow our economy, etc., but no pay-as-you-go for giveaways to a special interest tax breaks, etc. – unpaid for to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars,” she said.

“So that’s how we got to where we are,” she said.  “But without President Obama the national debt would be even higher.”

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