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Tipsheet

White House Transcript Forced to Correct KJP's Claim on '134 Billion' Disability Claims Backlog

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has had a rough week. Just a few days after she claimed that illegal migration was down by 90 percent, she let herself get so wrapped up in ranting about the Republican plan to raise the debt ceiling, that she made an inaccurate claim of epic proportions.

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Referring to the Republican plan, which she has dubbed the "Default on America Act," Jean-Pierre claimed that such legislation would cut 81,000 jobs from the VA, reduce outpatient visit by 30 million, and increase the disability claims backlog by an estimated 134 billion." Well, it turns out that that estimate was way off. According to the official White House transcript, she had meant to say "134 thousand."

Such claim came after Jean-Pierre made another claim, which is that "the President’s commitment to cutting wasteful spending has never been in doubt." It got more eyeroll-inducing from there, as she went on the attack she has used against Republicans ad nauseam. 

"But MAGA Republicans in Congress have taken the opposite approach. They want to protect wasteful spending for Pharma, Big Oil, and other special interests, and instead put forward a spending proposal that would hurt veterans and devastate federal and local law enforcement," she claimed, going on to make her claim about a backlog amounting to "134 billion."

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Hubris, thy name is Karine Jean-Pierre. 

Jean-Pierre referenced the number during Tuesday's press briefing, though in that instance she said what she meant to say. That same day, the White House released a so-called fact sheet claiming that "MAGA House Republicans’ Default on America Act Would Have Devastating Impacts Across America." The Department of Veterans Affairs had also used a press release on April 21 warning about cuts to benefits. 

A Wednesday fact-check from CBS 8 noted that a claim that Republicans want to cut VA benefits "needs context." 

"The text of the bill as passed by the House does not specifically cut the budget of the Department of Veterans Affairs. But it does mandate broad federal spending cuts and does not exempt the VA from those cuts," the fact-check mentioned. 

CBS 8 also referenced comments from House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) on ABC News' "This Week," in which he made clear "I will not bring a bill to the floor of the House, even if President Biden wants it, I will not bring a bill that cuts our veterans."

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