In what appears to be a major concession to moderate Democrats, President Joe Biden reportedly told House progressives Tuesday that tuition-free community college will not be included in the final version of a multitrillion-dollar spending bill to fund the president’s economic and climate agenda.
CNN reported Tuesday that Biden discussed a $1.75 trillion to $1.9 trillion top line figure for his spending bill, which Senate Democrats hope to pass via budget reconciliation to dodge the 60-vote requirement imposed by the filibuster. Those numbers are more in line with the $1.5 trillion figure demanded by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who’s vote is needed in the 50-50 Senate to pass any legislation.
From that advantageous position, Manchin has successfully prevented the Senate from advancing the original $3.5 trillion spending package supported by progressives, which included free community college as well as Medicare expansion, expanded child tax credits, paid family leave, and a watered-down version of the Green New Deal.
To cut the costs of the bill down to a level Manchin would support, Biden reportedly told House Democrats that in addition to dropping free community college, the child tax credit will only be expanded for one year — far shorter than what progressives had wanted. The child tax credit will also be means tested, which Manchin had demanded.