Jill Biden says $109 billion community college program isn’t on the table

Jill Biden said Monday that the taxpayer-funded community college would not be included in the administration’s Build Back Better program.

“Congress has yet to pass the Build Back Better agenda,” she said in a speech to the Community College National Legislative Summit in Washington. “And free community college is no longer part of that package.”

The first lady, who teaches English and writing at Northern Virginia Community College, said she was “disappointed”.

“But Joe also had to compromise,” she said.

President Joe Biden initially asked Congress for $109 billion in taxpayer money to pay for two years of community college for all American students, including people brought to the United States as children by migrant parents.

Walter Bumphus, president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges, said community colleges are engines of economic development.

“Of course, we share Dr. Biden’s disappointment that the Build Back Better Act does not specify funding for College Promise programs,” he said. “Despite this, there is a deep recognition of the benefits of investing in the nation’s community colleges and the nearly 12 million students they serve. Community colleges are an engine of economic development and a smart investment at the local and federal levels. The federal government widely recognizes and supports systems, programs, and services that help remove barriers to completion for community college students. It is not just the free community college, but the complementary services, grants, workforce development, and internships that will really benefit community colleges and students.

Critics said Biden’s plan would burden future taxpayers with massive debt. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, DW.V. repeatedly cited poor economic conditions and debt levels in his opposition to Biden’s Build Back Better spending bill.

“I can’t take that risk with a staggering debt of over $29 trillion and taxes on inflation that are real and hurtful to every hard-working American at the gas pump, groceries, and bills. public services with no end in sight,” Manchin said in December after helping block the bill in Congress. “We also face growing geopolitical uncertainty as tensions rise with Russia and China. Our ability to respond quickly and effectively to these imminent threats would be significantly hampered by our growing debt.

This article was published orally on TheCenterSquare.com.

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