In his first press convention since being inaugurated 64 days in the past, President Joe Biden obtained some details incorrect:
- Biden claimed that former President Donald Trump “eradicated” over $700 million in assist that Biden helped get for Central American international locations. That didn’t occur, however the Trump administration did reallocate some cash and briefly suspended different funding.
- The president used the incorrect statistics when saying that “nothing has modified” relating to “kids” making an attempt to enter the U.S. on the southern border. There was a major 63% uptick in unaccompanied kids being apprehended from January to February.
- Biden stated, “We’re sending again the overwhelming majority of the households which are coming.” However in February, 41% of these in a household unit apprehended on the southern border have been expelled.
- The president stated “over 50%” of Republican voters supported the American Rescue Plan Act. Some polls present that however others present a majority opposed the COVID-19 aid laws.
- He repeated two acquainted speaking factors on taxes, together with the deceptive declare that “83%” of the advantages within the GOP’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are “going to the highest 1%.” That solely turns into the case in 2027 when many of the particular person revenue tax cuts are set to run out however company tax cuts stay.
- Biden obtained it incorrect when he stated there have been 5 instances as many cloture motions “final yr alone” than there have been “between 1917 and 1971.” There have been twice as many motions filed final yr than there have been from 1917 by means of 1970.
Biden took questions from reporters on March 25.
Help to Central America
Biden falsely claimed that his predecessor “eradicated” and “didn’t use” greater than $700 million in funding to deal with migration from Central American international locations that Biden helped safe when he was vice chairman.
“They’re coming due to the circumstances in nation, in nation,” Biden stated of the hundreds of people who find themselves illegally coming into the U.S. by means of Mexico. “The best way to cope with this drawback, and I began to cope with it again after I was … vice chairman, placing collectively a bipartisan plan of over $700 million to do the basis causes of why persons are leaving. What did Trump do? He eradicated that funding. He didn’t use it. He didn’t do it.”
Biden gave the impression to be referring to funding for the “U.S. Technique for Engagement in Central America,” which was as excessive as $750 million through the Obama administration in fiscal yr 2016.
It’s true that the annual price range for that initiative declined considerably throughout Trump’s presidency, nevertheless it wasn’t fully “eradicated” or unspent, as Biden stated. According to the Congressional Research Service, the nonpartisan analysis arm of Congress, appropriations for this system declined to $685 million in FY 2017, $615 million in FY 2018, $528 million in FY 2019, $533 million in FY 2020 and $506 million in FY 2021.
Biden might have been referencing cash that Congress licensed to be used in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador that the Trump administration both reallocated to different initiatives or briefly suspended in 2019.
As a January CRS report stated: “From FY2016 to FY2020, Congress appropriated greater than $3.1 billion to enhance safety, governance, and socioeconomic circumstances in Central America as a part of a whole-of-government initiative to deal with the drivers of irregular migration. Nevertheless, in March 2019 — lower than two years into the initiative’s on-the-ground implementation — the Trump Administration suspended most overseas assist to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The Administration proceeded to reprogram roughly $396 million of assist appropriated for the Northern Triangle international locations in FY2018, reallocating the funds to different overseas coverage priorities inside, and outdoors of, the Latin American and Caribbean area.”
The report indicated that the Trump administration “withheld many of the help Congress appropriated for Central America in FY2019 whereas it negotiated a collection of agreements supposed to stem the movement of migrants and asylum-seekers from the Northern Triangle to the USA.” In consequence, the report stated, the State Division and the U.S. Company for Worldwide Growth have been pressured to shut down or cancel some initiatives and deliberate actions.
However CRS additionally stated that — amid criticism from members of Congress who argued the funding freeze was counterproductive — assist to the Northern Triangle international locations that was beforehand held again started to be launched late in 2019, and “all the beforehand suspended help for the area” had been “programmed” by June 2020.
Immigration: Unaccompanied Kids
Biden used the incorrect statistics when saying that “nothing has modified” relating to “kids” making an attempt to enter the U.S. on the southern border. To make certain, there have been spikes earlier than in unaccompanied kids arriving on the border, however the uptick in Biden’s first full month in workplace was vital.
Biden: Fact of the matter is nothing has modified. As many individuals got here, 28% improve in kids to the border in my administration. 31% within the final yr of – in 2019, earlier than the pandemic, within the Trump administration. It occurs each single solitary yr. There’s a vital improve within the variety of folks coming to the border within the winter months of January, February, March.
Biden’s figures don’t pertain to an “improve in kids to the border,” as he stated. As an alternative, they pertain to the entire variety of apprehensions on the border — together with single adults and household items. These figures have been cited in a Washington Post opinion piece by immigration specialists who, much like the president, stated the rise in complete apprehensions mirrored “a sample of seasonal modifications,” through which immigrant apprehensions improve within the cooler months of the yr.
We get barely totally different figures utilizing Customs and Border Safety knowledge. There was a 29% improve in total apprehensions from January to February, when the extent reached 96,974. In 2019, the January-to-February bump was 39%.
As we’ve written, the current improve in border apprehensions did start previous to the election below then-President Donald Trump. However the spike in unaccompanied kids within the first full month of Biden’s administration is noteworthy — and, with a backlog of processing these kids out of border custody amenities, it’s the primary side of border immigration that has garnered media and political consideration.
The variety of unaccompanied kids being apprehended on the border additionally started rising in October, earlier than the election, nevertheless it spiked 63% from January to February, reaching 9,297 youngsters.
The Washington Submit opinion piece famous that the apprehensions of unaccompanied kids “seems to be greater than only a seasonal sample.”
CBP knowledge show the fiscal yr 2021 numbers of unaccompanied kids apprehended are on observe to rival or surpass a spike that occurred in 2019.
The president went on to say the “overwhelming majority, the overwhelming majority of individuals coming to the border and crossing are being despatched again,” mentioning “single folks.” That’s right. However then he added, “We’re sending again the overwhelming majority of the households which are coming.” That’s not the case for the month of February, the latest knowledge from CBP.
The administration expelled 41% of household items in February. (See the figures for Title 42 expulsions.)
Single adults, who make up the overwhelming majority of these apprehended on the border, have been largely expelled below Title 42, a public well being legislation.
We requested the White Home about Biden’s declare, however we haven’t obtained a response.
Polling on American Rescue Plan Act
When instructed Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell stated Biden has gone too far left, the president responded by saying “over 50%” of Republican voters supported the American Rescue Plan Act.
However public polling affords a extra combined response amongst Republicans to the brand new legislation than the president lets on.
Biden: I would love Republican, elected Republican assist, however what I do know I’ve now could be, I’ve electoral assist from Republican voters. Republican voters agree with what I’m doing. And so until Mitch says the very last thing I did, the final piece of laws I did was to this point left, effectively, then he ought to try his occasion. Over 50% of them should be over that edge, as effectively as a result of they assist what I did.
This has develop into a speaking level for the president. He acknowledged something similar on March 19, when he stated “we didn’t get any assist in the Senate or the Home, however you have got 55% of the Republicans in America supporting it,” referring to the COVID-19 aid invoice.
For positive, there are polls that present greater than 50% of Republicans supported the invoice earlier this month when it was earlier than Congress.
A Morning Consult/Politico poll carried out from March 6 to March 8 discovered 59% of Republicans surveyed stated they “strongly assist” (29%) or “considerably assist” (30%) the COVID-19 assist package deal.
Equally, a Data for Progress ballot carried out from March 5 to 7 discovered 54% of Republicans supported the invoice.
Nevertheless, different polls discovered Republican assist beneath 50% — not “over 50%,” as Biden stated.
A CNN poll from March 3 to eight discovered solely 26% of Republicans supported the invoice (see Desk 031).
A Pew Research Center survey from March 1 to 7 discovered that 41% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents stated they supported the invoice. That ballot confirmed a pronounced partisan divide specifically on the price of the laws — which was the first purpose for Republican opposition in Congress.
Sixty-one p.c of Republicans instructed Pew that the $1.9 trillion invoice, which Biden signed into legislation on March 11, spends an excessive amount of.
Lastly, we discovered a CBS News/YouGov poll taken from March 9 to 10 discovered 46% of Republicans supported the American Rescue Plan Act. “Amongst Republicans, there’s extra assist for it amongst these with decrease family incomes than amongst these with greater incomes,” CBS Information wrote.
Evaluating his tax priorities to these of Republicans, Biden revived two speaking factors from the marketing campaign: the deceptive declare that 83% of the tax cuts within the Republican tax legislation championed by Trump went to the highest 1%; and the false declare that middle-income households pay a better tax price than “the typical individual making $1 billion a yr.”
Biden stated he discovered it “form of fascinating that my Republican buddies have been frightened” about “the price” of tax cuts and aid checks within the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act. The legislation, he stated, “places cash in folks’s pockets. Bizarre folks.”
The legislation supplies a median tax reduce to middle-income earners of $3,720 this yr, in accordance with an analysis by the Tax Coverage Heart. The legislation additionally consists of stimulus funds for many Individuals, and extends unemployment compensation.
Biden stated he didn’t bear in mind listening to Republicans specific comparable issues about the price of the Republican-backed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which is projected so as to add almost $2 trillion to the deficit over 10 years, in accordance with the Congressional Price range Workplace.
“Did you hear them complain after they handed a near $2 trillion Trump tax reduce, 83% going to the highest 1%?” Biden stated.
It is a well-worn however deceptive declare. As we’ve got written, to ensure that the laws to be handed by way of reconciliation, many of the particular person revenue tax provisions are set to run out by 2027, whereas the company tax cuts would stay, making the tax profit distribution extra lopsided for the highest 1% than in earlier years.
So, whereas the highest 1% obtained 20.5% of the entire tax advantages in 2018, and 25.3% of the tax advantages in 2025, the share of the entire tax financial savings that accrues to the highest 1% in 2027 is 82.8%, in accordance with an analysis by the Tax Coverage Heart.
Republicans say they anticipate a future Congress will lengthen the person tax cuts, reasonably than permitting taxes for a lot of to extend, however after all there is no such thing as a assurance that can occur.
Biden went on to assert Republicans “reduc[ed] taxes to some extent that people who find themselves making, you realize if you’re a husband and spouse, faculty trainer and a cop, you’re paying at a better price than the typical individual making $1 billion a yr is. One thing’s incorrect.”
Truly, that declare is incorrect.
It’s one other model of a claim Biden made through the marketing campaign, that the highest 1% of taxpayers, on common, pay a decrease efficient tax price than middle-income folks.
On the whole, folks in higher-income classes pay a better tax price.
In keeping with an analysis by the Tax Coverage Heart, the highest 0.1% — these making over $3,452,300 a yr — paid a median federal tax price of 31.3% in 2019. That’s a better price than some other revenue class beneath it. By comparability, for instance, these within the center 20% of earners — with an expanded money revenue of $50,001 to $87,300 — paid a median federal tax price of 12.4%, in accordance with the TPC evaluation.
The Tax Coverage Heart didn’t break down its evaluation for billionaires, however they’d clearly be a fraction of these within the high 0.1%.
“On common the highest 0.1 p.c of revenue pays extra,” Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow on the Tax Coverage Heart, instructed us by way of e-mail. “Are there outliers? Positive. However could be very uncommon.”
As Gleckman told us again in 2019, “You possibly can make investments all of your cash in tax-exempt bonds and pay no federal revenue tax on the curiosity. Buyers can keep away from paying tax on capital features by merely not promoting the property (however they’d additionally don’t have any revenue). However basically, the federal tax system could be very progressive. The extra you make, the extra you pay.”
William McBride, vice chairman of federal tax and financial coverage on the Tax Basis, instructed us Biden could also be referring to an analysis by economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman of the College of California at Berkeley that concluded the typical efficient tax price (for federal, state and native taxes) paid by the richest 400 households within the U.S. was 23%, barely decrease than the 24.2% price paid by the underside half of American households.
McBride notes, nonetheless, that the Saez/Zucman knowledge “excludes refundable tax credit in order that the tax burden is overstated on the decrease finish of the revenue spectrum. When they’re included, average effective tax rates for federal taxes go from 3.3% for the bottom quintile as much as 30.3% for the highest 0.1% (about 120,000 households).”
McBride stated the Saez/Zucman estimates for the highest 400 households “depend on their assumptions about returns imputed from underlying wealth and revenue shares, which have been challenged by different economists like Gerald Auten and David Splinter. They find that the highest 0.01 p.c (a bit greater than the highest 400) paid a median mixed tax price of almost 50 p.c in 2018.”
In a post difficult a number of the methodology of the Saez/Zucman report, Gleckman of the Tax Coverage Heart stated that whereas it’s true that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act “reduce the taxes of excessive earners by extra on common than for low- and moderate-income households, as a share of after-tax revenue,” that doesn’t imply, as a Washington Post headline put it, that “billionaires paid a decrease tax price than the working class.”
Despite the fact that he pulled a card out of his pocket to learn aloud statistics on the rise in cloture motions, Biden obtained the numbers incorrect.
Biden: That it was that from between 1917 and 1971, the filibuster existed, there have been a complete of 58 motions to interrupt a filibuster, that complete time. Final yr alone, there have been 5 instances that many. So it’s being abused in a huge approach.
Cloture motions are filed to set a time restrict on debate and convey a invoice to the ground for a vote. The movement should obtain 60 votes to cross — not a easy majority.
The Senate website lists all cloture motions since 1917, when the Senate first adopted the cloture rule. We counted a complete of 58 from 1917 by means of 1970, the determine Biden cited. However final yr alone there have been 118 — which is greater than double 58, not 5 instances better.
It seems that the president meant to say within the final Congress — not “final yr alone.” In 2019 and 2020, which was the 116th Congress, there have been 328 cloture motions filed — which is greater than 5 instances the motions filed from 1917 by means of 1970.
However cloture motions aren’t essentially filed “to interrupt a filibuster,” as Biden stated. That was the first use, however not in fashionable instances — a reality famous in a Congressional Analysis Service report on filibusters and cloture motions.
“In current instances, against this, Senate management has more and more made use of cloture as a traditional instrument for managing the movement of enterprise on the ground, even when no evident filibuster has but occurred,” the CRS report stated. “It will be inaccurate to imagine the presence or absence of cloture makes an attempt is a dependable information to the presence or absence of filibusters.”
Additionally, each events are liable for the escalating use of cloture motions. There have been 504 filed in six years (2009-2014) when the Democrats have been in management, and 657 in six years (2015-2020) when the Republicans have been in cost.
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