February 3rd, 2010
04:36 PM ET
13 years ago

CNN Fact Check: The last president to balance the budget

(CNN) - President Obama declared on Wednesday that Democrats can be trusted on the budget because, "the last time the budget was balanced was under a Democratic president."

Fact Check: Who was president the last time the budget was balanced?

- The U.S. government suffered budget deficits every year from 1970 through 1997.
- Democrat Bill Clinton was president in 1998, when the government finally recorded a surplus.
- There also were budget surpluses in 1999, 2000 and in 2001. 2001 was the last year the Clinton administration proposed the budget.
- Republican George W. Bush succeeded Clinton in 2001. The United States had a budget deficit in 2002, and it has recorded budget deficits every year since. The deficit is projected to increase substantially this year under President Barack Obama.
- Republicans say they should get at least some of the credit for the balanced budgets during the Clinton administration, because Republican majorities controlled both the House and Senate.

Read the bottom line after the jump.

Bottom Line: Democrat Bill Clinton was president the last time the federal budget was balanced, and Republicans controlled Congress.

Filed under: Budget • Fact Check • President Obama
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. milli

    Did you answer why there was a deficit in 2002? Was is Bush – no – it was 9/11 – the economic impact changed everything. It would have changed under any President – is was the greatest single "game-changer" in the last 50 years.

    February 3, 2010 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  2. PL

    Fair and balanced reporting

    February 3, 2010 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
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