President Joe Biden’s first address to Congress was filled with false accounts, misleading statistics, and downright lies.
The Horn News broke down the five biggest whoppers from last night — and they’re stunning.
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A look at five of the biggest false claims:
TWO ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION LIES
BIDEN: “If you believe in a pathway to citizenship, pass (immigration legislation) so over 11 million undocumented folks — the vast majority who are here overstaying visas — pass it.”
THE FACTS: Not true, Biden made an unsubstantiated claim.
There is no official count of how many people entered the country legally and overstayed visas. The government estimates that 11.4 million were living in the country illegally as of January 2018 but it is very unlikely the majority — let alone the vast majority — are from overstaying visas. Government statistics don’t distinguish between how many illegal immigrants entered legally and stayed after their visas expired, versus how many arrived illegally.
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Robert Warren of the Center for Migration Studies of New York, a former director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s statistics division who has studied visa overstays for decades, has done the most recent work on the issue.
He estimated that, as of 2018, 46% of people in the country illegally overstayed visas — not a majority, let alone a “vast majority.”
BIDEN: “When I was vice president, the president asked me to focus on providing help needed to address the root causes of migration. And it helped keep people in their own countries instead of being forced to leave. The plan was working, but the last administration decided it was not worth it. I’m restoring the program and I asked Vice President Harris to lead our diplomatic effort to take care of this.”
THE FACTS: That’s completely wrong.
Biden led Obama’s efforts to address a spike in illegal immigration from Central America, but poverty and violence have been endemic for decades. Hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. aid have gone to Central America annually, even during Donald Trump’s presidency.
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In March, the number of unaccompanied children encountered by U.S. border authorities soared to nearly 19,000, the highest number on record in the third major surge of families and children from Central America since 2014 under both Democratic and Republican administrations.
Biden championed aid during what Obama called “a humanitarian crisis” of Central American children at the border in 2014 but that didn’t stem the tide. While assistance fell under Trump, hundreds of millions of dollars have continued to flow out of our nation every year. Biden has proposed a whopping $861 million in Central American aid next year as a first installment on a $4 billion plan, compared with annual outlays of between $506 million and $750 million over the previous six years.
TWO BIG SPENDING MISTRUTHS
BIDEN, on his spending proposals: “There’s a broad consensus of economists — left, right, center — and they agree that what I’m proposing will help create millions of jobs and generate historic economic growth.”
THE FACTS: There is no consensus, let alone “broad” consensus. Many economists, also bridging the ideological spectrum, say he’s spending too much or in the wrong way. Biden’s pandemic relief plan did enjoy partial bipartisan support, even getting a general seal of approval from Kevin Hassett, who was Trump’s chief economist. But his policies have also drawn bipartisan criticism.
For one, Larry Summers, who was Barack Obama’s top economist and Bill Clinton’s treasury secretary, warned that Biden’s relief package risks rates of inflation not seen in a generation.
Biden’s latest proposals on infrastructure and families would require substantial tax increases on corporations and wealthy investors — leading to criticism by many CEOs and more conservative economists that growth could be compromised.
The plan to increase capital gains taxes drew the scorn of Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office and Republican adviser. He said the White House is wrong to focus on the sliver of people being taxed and what matters is how much of the economy would be taxed.
“The wealth taxes are a draconian tax on the annual return to that capital,” he said. “What matters is the amount of economic activity that is taxed, not the number of people.”
BIDEN: “We kept our commitment, Democrats and Republicans, sending $1,400 rescue checks to 85% of all American households.”
THE FACTS: By focusing on the rescue checks, Biden glossed over the rest of the bloated, controversial relief bill. It was not a bipartisan issue.
Republicans in both the U.S. Senate and House opposed the bill, known as the American Rescue Plan, portraying it as too big and too bloated.
All but one Democrat supported the legislation.
While no Republicans voted for this year’s coronavirus bill, they supported sending checks to Americans and passed previous rounds of relief legislation. A relief law passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in December, when Trump was still president, provided $600 checks to many Americans. Trump called for the additional $1,400 check before leaving office.
DRUG PRICE REDUCTION MISINFORATION
BIDEN, arguing that Congress should authorize Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. “And by the way, that won’t just help people on Medicare — it will lower prescription drug costs for everyone.”
THE FACTS: That is likely wishful thinking.
Under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bill, private insurers that cover working-age Americans and their families would indeed be able to get the same discounts as Medicare.
But while Pelosi should be able to drive her legislation through the House, the situation in the Senate is different.
Some Democratic senators have qualms about her expensive approach, and Biden may settle for less. So there’s no guarantee that a final bill would lower prescription drug costs for everyone.
The Associated Press contributed to this article