WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) — President Joe Biden told House progressives in a meeting on Tuesday that the final bill for the Democrats’ social spending package will not include tuition-free community college, one of his major priorities, according to sources.
Biden met with the progressives for over two hours on Tuesday as his agenda currently hangs in the balance. During the meeting, the President made clear that along with tuition-free community college being axed, the child tax credit will also be extended to just one year and likely be means-tested, something that West Virginia Sen Joe Manchin called for.
“It looks like it’s probably going to out,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal said. “I think I was hoping the First Lady would carry that priority across the line but it doesn’t look like that will be in there.”
Biden indicated that cuts could be coming last week in Connecticut, seemingly hinting that tuition-free community college would not make it to the final bill.
“I don’t know that I can get it done, but I also have proposed free community college, like you’ve done here in the state of Connecticut, to help students from lower-income families attend community college (and) four-year schools,” he said.
The President also indicated that home care for the elderly and disabled will be less than $250 billion, lower than the $400 billion that many in the party were hoping for. However, Biden did say the plan is to keep expansion of Medicare, which includes hearing, dental, and vision — something progressives made a priority.
Jayapal spoke to reporters following the meeting and said a deal is close and said Biden is one of the main reasons why.
“The president is the inspirer, he is the closer he is the convincer, the mediator in chief. He really is doing a phenomenal job,” Jayapal said.
Biden also met with the moderate wing of the caucus later on Tuesday and spoke about a bill in the range of $1.75 trillion to $1.9 trillion. That’s lower than the first proposal of $3.5 trillion and the $1.9 trillion to $2.2 trillion number.
“We’re not where we need to be yet, but I think we are getting close,” Sen. Jon Tester said after the meeting.
The President held meetings with Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia later in the day Tuesday. Both of them are in the middle of key disagreements over the price tag of the bill and its proposals. Reports over the weekend stated the White House was growing frustrated and have been pressuring Congress to reach a deal on the social spending package and bipartisan infrastructure deal by the end of the month.
White Press Secretary Jen Psaki released a statement late Tuesday and struck an optimistic tone that an agreement can be reached before the October 31 deadline.
“After a day of constructive meetings, the president is more confident this evening about the path forward to delivering for the American people on strong, sustained economic growth that benefits everyone,” she said.
“There was broad agreement that there is urgency in moving forward over the next several days and that the window for finalizing a package is closing.”
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.