While President Biden’s State of the Union address Tuesday night is expected to resemble a re-election campaign speech, a look at his first address shows he’s fallen short on several major promises, including securing the border and lowering prices.
During his State of the Union address on March 1, Biden argued that “if we are to advance liberty and justice, we need to secure our border and fix the immigration system.”
But illegal immigration reached another an all-time high last year, with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reporting 2,214,652 total migrant encounters in Fiscal Year 2022, a 41% increase from the year before.
“The border is more porous than it has ever been in American history,” Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts told Fox News Digital in an interview Monday, adding that Biden has “taken literally zero” steps to secure the border.
“Which means that when you’re the head of a cartel basically running the northern provinces in Mexico, when you hear the president of the United States say nothing, and you know on the ground that he’s done nothing – there’s been no construction of a border wall, there’s been actually a decrease in the number of Border Patrol agents, there’s been a relative decrease in the funding of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol – all of that points to having a greater incentive to do the human trafficking that they’re doing,” he said.
During his March 1 address, after the annual inflation rate hit 7.9% and the average cost of a gallon of unleaded gasoline reached $3.61, Biden said his “top priority is getting prices under control.”
“Too many families are struggling to keep up with their bills,” Biden said. “Inflation is robbing them of gains they thought otherwise they would be able to feel.”
Just months after Biden’s speech, the inflation rate peaked at 9.1% and the average gallon of gas skyrocketed to $5.02. Now, gas is only 14 cents cheaper than it was during the speech at $3.47 and inflation is still at a whopping 6.5%.
Other household staples like milk and bread have also ballooned since Biden’s speech – $4.02 for a gallon of whole milk at that time to $4.43 now, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Biden and the Democrats, without any Republican support, passed the so-called Inflation Reduction Act in August, which economists, commentators and politicians on both sides of the political aisle acknowledged was more of a climate change and health care bill that would do virtually nothing to tame inflation. It was a watered down version of Biden’s Build Back Better plan that he promised would only raise taxes on earners making over $400,000 a year.
“And under my plan, nobody — let me say this again — nobody earning less than $400,000 a year will pay an additional penny in new taxes. Not a single penny,” Biden said during his last State of the Union address.
“That’s another lie,” Roberts told Fox News Digital. “And the reason is because every single American has had an effective tax increase since the first day of the Biden administration because of his overspending.”
While the Inflation Reduction Act did not include a direct tax on earners making under $400,000, economists said some provisions of the bill could impose indirect costs on middle and lower-income Americans. The minimum corporate tax rate of 15% in the bill, for instance, could result in companies reducing investment returns or cutting workers’ wages.
The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) released a report in July saying Americans making less than $200,000 per year would pay nearly $17 billion in combined additional tax in 2023.
When reached by Fox News Digital, the White House provided a fact sheet released Monday saying Biden’s “economic plan is working” but that there’s “more work to do.”
“[A]nnual inflation has fallen for six months straight, driven in large part by a roughly $1.50 decline in gas prices compared to last summer,” the fact sheet reads. “Over the second half of 2022, three-month core inflation fell from nearly 8% at an annualized rate to 3% at an annualized rate—at the same time that the unemployment remained at or near 50-year lows.”
Biden also promised to cut the budget deficit by $1 trillion by the end of 2022 during his last address.
“By the end of this year, the deficit will be down to less than half what it was before I took office — the only President ever to cut the deficit by more than $1 trillion in a single year,” he said.
Biden faced blowback from fact checkers after taking a victory lap in October for lowering the deficit to $1.38 trillion during the 2022 fiscal year, down from $2.78 trillion the prior year. But before Biden and the Democrats passed their $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan in March 2021, without a single Republican vote, the Congressional Budget Office had projected the budget deficit to fall to $1.1 trillion in FY 2022.
Meanwhile, the national debt has risen $1.3 trillion since Biden’s last speech and the government reported a deficit of $421 billion for the first three months of fiscal 2023, which is a 12%-increase over the same period last year.
During his 2022 speech, Biden also said he would “beat the opioid epidemic” by stopping “the flow of illicit drugs by working with state and local law enforcement to go after the traffickers.”
But illegal immigration and opioid deaths continued to skyrocket.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid up to 50 times stronger than heroin, has been driving the latest phase of the opioid epidemic. Over 14,000 pounds of fentanyl was seized at the border in Fiscal Year 2022, up 25% from the year prior, and more than 9,000 pounds of fentanyl has already been seized during this fiscal year, which started Oct. 1, according to CBP.
The White House on Monday cited the CBP’s seizure statistics as evidence Biden is following through on his promise to combat the opioid crisis, arguing that the administration has so far denied $3 billion to drug producers and traffickers.
The White House also provided background on several initiatives by the administration to address the crisis, including $275 million that was announced in April to reduce violence associated with drug trafficking in High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA).
Opioid addiction is a top concern to voters with 76% extremely or very worried. The only issues tested they find more concerning are inflation (86%), higher crime rates (80%), and political divisions (78%), according to a new Fox News poll.
“I thought, I guess naively, that when the president talked about ending the opioid epidemic, that we would have an opportunity as a country to come together around something that knows no partisan boundaries,” Roberts told Fox News Digital. “And instead, the president hasn’t even taken that political opportunity.”
“To me, of all the failures of the Biden administration, and unfortunately there are many, being someone who looks at this from the eyes of humankind, I think that’s the biggest one,” he said. “And I think his legacy is really going to be sullied as a result.”
The president has not officially announced his candidacy for reelection but has repeatedly said he expects to throw his hat in the ring sometime this year.
So far, former President Donald Trump is the only candidate to officially announce his 2024 presidential bid.
It’s the second State of the Union address of Biden’s presidency, but unlike his last speech, this year’s will be given in front of a split Congress.
Meanwhile, a striking 4 in 10 Americans say they’ve gotten worse off financially since Biden became president, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, which is the highest amount in the poll’s 37-year history.
“A year ago Joe Biden told us he had a plan to tackle inflation, secure the border, and help working people — leaving ‘no one behind,’” Republican strategist Zack Roday told Fox News Digital. “But today, inflation is at 40 year high, the border is a disaster, and seven in ten Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction. I expect an endless string of ‘he said what now’ moments from a President known for exaggerating.”