Democrats Agree to Drop Community College From Biden Plan

By BLOOMBERG

Fractious congressional Democrats are getting somewhat closer to agreement on scaling back President Joe Biden’s economic plan, including dropping two years of free community college from the bill. 

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal and Representative Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, confirmed that the community college provision would fall by the wayside as Democrats struggled to reduce the size and scope of the measure to satisfy party moderates. Community college made up $109 billion of the multi-trillion dollar plan. 

But Representative Jimmy Gomez, a California Democrat, said he had hope that community college tuition would remain in the legislation. “I’m a product of community colleges and I want to make sure that stays in,” he added. 

Medicare expansion, to include dental, vision and hearing, is in the measure, but the details are still being negotiated, Khanna said. Universal pre-kindergarten will also be in the bill, and will not be based on salary, he added.

At the same time, the Clean Electricity Performance Program will likely not make the cut, Khanna said.

Democrats are also considering extending the more expansive child tax credit for only one year instead of until 2025, according to someone familiar with the negotiations. 

A single-year renewal of the child tax credit, rather than an extension through 2025 that Democrats had previously contemplated, would trim hundreds of billions of dollars of spending from the legislation. A one-year extension costs $106.5 billion, compared to $556 billion for four years, according to estimates from the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Home health care expenditures, meanwhile, would be under $250 billion in the bill.  

Jayapal emerged from a Tuesday evening meeting, saying that the bill’s final cost would be $1.9 trillion to $2.2 trillion, down from the $3.5 trillion the House had previously endorsed.  

Senator Jon Tester of Montana, a moderate Democrat, likewise said that was the range now under consideration.