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Biden Tells House Progressives Free Community College Nixed from Reconciliation Bill: Report

President Joe Biden speaks with reporters after participating in a ceremony for state and national Teachers of the Year at the White House in Washington, D.C., October 18, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

President Biden told House progressives on Tuesday that his proposal for free community college would not be included in the final reconciliation package being hammered out by Democrats, multiple sources told CNN.

Additionally, Biden said the current child tax credit will be extended by one year instead of being made permanent, and will be means-tested as proposed by Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.). Proposed funding for home-care services for the elderly will also be reduced from $400 billion to below $250 billion.

A key priority for congressional progressives — an expansion of Medicare to include vision, dental, and hearing services — will remain in the reconciliation bill, Biden reportedly said.

The Biden administration initially proposed a $3.5 trillion spending package earlier this year to be passed in the Senate via budget-reconciliation rules, meaning the package would need support of a simple majority. However, Democrats need all 50 of their Senators to support the bill, and Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have expressed opposition to various components of the package and to the overall price tag.

Biden conceded on Friday that the plan would likely cost less and hinted that free community college could be dropped from the package.

“To be honest with you, we’re probably not going to get $3.5 trillion this year; we’re going to get something less than that,” Biden said at a child care center in Hartford, Conn., adding later, “I don’t know that I can get it done, but I also had proposed free community college.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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