WATCH: Biden, GOP members spar over national debt remarks | 2023 State of the Union

In his second State of the Union speech, President Joe Biden said he signed a law that aims to reduce the national deficit by “cracking down on wealthy tax cheats.” He said that his administration has slashed the deficit by more than $1.7 trillion over the past two years and that, in contrast, the deficit went up each year during the Trump administration.

“No president added more to the national debt in any four years than my predecessor,” Biden said. “Nearly 25 percent of the entire national debt — that took over 200 years to accumulate — was added by just one administration alone, the last one.” Some in the audience jeered at his comments.

The president then asked Congress to commit that “the full faith and credit of the United States” will never be questioned, adding that some Republicans in Congress “want to take the economy hostage” unless he agrees to their economic policies. Biden said that some GOP legislators “want Medicare and Social Security to sunset,” which once again garnered a strong negative reaction from some members of Congress.

“The idea is that we’re not going to be moved into being threatened to default on the debt if we don’t respond,” Biden said.

Biden’s Feb. 7 address comes a year after Russia invaded Ukraine and amid new diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and China over a suspected surveillance balloon. This is Biden’s second State of the Union address, as his first was a joint address to Congress in April 2021.
Last year, Biden used his address to emphasize themes of bipartisanship and unity. But he now faces a split Congress, with the GOP-led House launching efforts to investigate his family and his administration.

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