Fox News anchor Chris Wallace fact-checked a senior adviser to President Joe Biden in real time Sunday over the Biden administration's absurd claim that its massive $3.5 trillion spending bill does not cost anything.
What is the background?
For nearly two weeks, Biden administration officials, bolstered by Democratic lawmakers, have been pushing the outright lie that the massive spending bill "costs zero dollars."
They claim the net cost of the bill will be offset through tax increases, a claim that has been disproven. In fact, some analyses indicate the bill could add more than $4 trillion to the national debt. The Congressional Budget Office has not yet scored the bill, as ongoing negotiations between lawmakers will alter the final product.
What did Wallace say?
During an interview on "Fox News Sunday," Cedric Richmond, senior adviser to Biden, told host Chris Wallace that "what's important for people to understand is that this piece of legislation cost zero."
That's when Wallace stopped Richmond dead in his tracks.
"Mr. Richmond, I've got to— I've got to stop you there. It doesn't cost zero. Whether it's $3.5 trillion or $2 trillion, or $1.5 trillion, whatever, it costs that amount of money," Wallace said.
"Now, you can pay for it either by borrowing it or you can pay for it by raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy, but it doesn't cost zero," Wallace explained.
In response, Richmond repeated his debunked claim — and even found a way to take a shot at former President Donald Trump.
"At the end of the day, it will cost zero because we're going to pay for it. Now, if you go back and look at the Trump tax cuts, which weren't paid for, they cost billions and billions," Richmond said. "But we're going to pay for everything we spend here. And that is not including the economic benefits and gains that we will get from it."
After Richmond repeated more talking points, Wallace fact-checked him again.
"But again, I just want to press down on this, because— I can understand the argument, a lot of people say that your math is wrong and even that it won't add zero to the debt," Wallace said. "You could make the argument if you pay for it that you add zero to the debt, but that doesn't mean that it costs zero. I mean, the fact that you're raising people's taxes is a cost."
Wallace explained, once more, that just because a bill does not add to the national debt does not mean it costs zero dollars. If the final price tag for the bill is just $2 trillion, then the bill will cost $2 trillion, Wallace pointed out, regardless of whether taxes are raised or lowered.