President Joe Biden, while acknowledging tuition-free community college was likely out of his sweeping spending bill, is vowing to make certain the free education plan becomes a reality "in the next several years."
His comments came Thursday night during a CNN town hall.
"I promise you — I guarantee you, we’re going to get free community college in the next several years and across the board," he said.
"No, look, it really makes a gigantic difference. And think of this: You have more countries in the world with — having — providing college — I mean, providing professional education beyond 12 years. We rank like, I think it’s — don’t hold me to the number — I think it’s 16 or 17 in the world — the United States of America, for God’s sake. This is about putting us in the game. "
The White House has been looking to gain the support of moderate Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who have voiced opposition to part of the spending plan.
CNN noted he praised Sinema as being "smart as the devil" and said Manchin was "not a bad guy."
During the televised town hall, Biden laid out what will be — and what won’t be — in the compromised spending plan.
- Paid family leave provision: "It’s down to four weeks," Biden said. "And the reason it’s down to four weeks is I can't get 12 weeks. We’re one of the few industrial countries in the world that doesn’t have paid leave."
- Including dental, vision, and hearing coverage to Medicare: Biden said it would be a "reach" to include all three. He said Manchin was opposed to it and believed Sinema was also against it. Biden said he was working to include an $800 voucher for dental coverage, and was still in talks over vision coverage.
- Child Tax Credit: "So you will not have to pay more than 7% of your income for childcare — 7%," Biden said. " And the way we do that is we provide for the ability to have childcare centers funded. The money won’t even go — you don’t — the — figure your income; you get 7% with the total cost."
Meanwhile, Manchin said on Thursday that Democrats won’t reach an agreement on the social spending bill ''anytime soon,'' despite ongoing negotiations within the party.
''This is not going to happen anytime soon, guys,'' Manchin told reporters. ''They're trying to get a meeting of the minds.''
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