First lady Jill Biden said at the Community College National Legislative Summit in Washington, DC, taking place between February 6-9 that she is “disappointed” that congressional Democrats could not pass the Build Back Better Act, along with a provision to allow eligible students two years of free community college education and, thus, fulfill a campaign promise.
She noted the Democrats took a provision out of the far-left behemoth spending bill that would have given eligible students two years of free education at community colleges, which she gave significant backing.
“But Joe has also to make compromises. Congress hasn’t passed the Build Back Better agenda—yet. And free community college is no longer a part of that,” she added. “We knew this wouldn’t be easy; Joe has always said that. Still, like you, I was disappointed because—like you—these aren’t just bills or budgets to me. We know what they mean for real people, for our students.”
The first lady, a professor at a community college in Virginia, mentioned to the summit that “Joe was going to fight for community colleges” but that the president “has also to make compromises” to get things done in Washington.
- Tuition costs have ballooned at both four- and two-year institutions over the last two decades, though obtaining a degree from a community college still remains far less expensive than receiving one from a public or private college or university, according to data from the Department of Education.
- Community colleges typically offer working-class students, immigrants and students of color a more affordable, flexible path to middle-class careers, Axios’ Russell Contreras reports.
The congressional Democrats passed the $1.2 trillion, 2,702-page so-called bipartisan infrastructure bill last year — which Biden has already signed into law. Still, the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act failed after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) denied voting to pass the bill.
The bill, which needed all the Democrats to vote in favor of the bill to pass, was effectively killed by Manchin last year when he told Fox News Sunday, “I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. … I can’t get there.”
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter.