The Democrats are still trying to shove their massive social spending package through Congress.
The Democrats originally planned for the bill to eliminate tuition fees for community college, but they may cut that from the bill in order to appease congress members worried about the bill’s price tag.
First Lady Jill Biden is a longtime professor at a community college near Washington, D.C. — and she’s reportedly not happy about the proposed cuts.
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Townhall moderator Anderson Cooper asked the president, “When you realized you weren’t going to be able to get it in this bill at this time, and you had dinner with Dr. Biden that night, what was that conversation like?”
The audience laughed. Cooper continued, “How’d you break that news?
President Biden joked, “Well, the White House has a lot of bedrooms… and she went like this: ‘Down the hall!'”
The president was presumably exaggerating about the first lady’s reaction, but in reality, many Americans have become similarly unhappy with President Biden. Inflation is rampant. The border crisis is unchecked. Supply chain issues threaten everyday lives. And gasoline prices have soared.
Some townhall attendees backed Jill’s response to the president over the community college omission. Sondra Guttman, an English professor at Loyola University Maryland, asked Biden about the role of community college in this spending bill. She said:
We’ve heard in the news that the proposal for two years of free community college may be cut from your economic package. An educated citizenry is absolutely crucial to solving complex problems like climate change and the systematic inequities in this country. We hope that this is not cut from the package, but if it is, what can you do to ensure that all Americans can get the education that they need to face these issues?
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Biden plans to fall back on expanding Pell Grants and implementing universal preschool, in the event that Congress cuts community college from the spending bill. He said:
First of all, Professor, you made a very profound point. I’m not being sarcastic. And that is — and Jill uses a slightly different phrase. Any country that out-educates us will out- compete us. Any country that out-educates — out-educates will out- compete us.
You have the vast majority of the 37 major countries in the world, economies, we rank 35 in our investment in education.
We’re in a situation where, if you — if you think about it, when we — what caused us to move ahead and dominate the 20th century, in the late 1900s — early 1900s, late 1890s, we came up with, said, 12 years of free education. That was revolutionary at the time. I mean, seriously.
Now, if we were sitting down today and saying, “Oh, we’ve got to put together an education system.”
Biden also asked the audience to participate. He said, “Raise your hand if anybody thinks 12 years is enough to compete in the 21st century!”
He went on:
So, what I — what I think we can get done is, we can significantly increase the amount of money, by 500 bucks a payment, for Pell Grants. And Pell Grants are available, and they can apply for up to 30 percent of the cost of community college and/or, and/or college, help tuition.
So, it’s not going to get us there. It’s not going to get us the whole thing. But it is a start. I’m convinced, absolutely, positively convinced, that we’re going to be able to — and, by the way, we have in the law — in the legislation money for community colleges that deal with — dealing with apprenticeships, dealing with teaching people particular skills that are not getting — will not get you a two-year degree, but will teach you the skill.
Then, he concluded:
What I propose is free child — free school — preschool for every three three and four-year-old in America, no matter what their background.
All the data shows that, no matter what home they come from, they increase exponentially their prospects of succeeding all the way through 12 years of school.
Biden continued to sloganeer about “listening to the scientists.” He said:
You know — you know all the statistics. The statistics go that, if you come from a home where there’s no books in the home and a single mom or a single dad, they don’t — they’re not well-educated, they don’t talk a lot, the kid from a middle — average middle-class home versus that home will go to school having heard 1 million more words spoken than the child who didn’t — a gigantic disadvantage.
Biden was presumably citing a 2017 study about the “word gap” between rich children and poor children.
Biden has cited that study before. In a 2019 debate, he said that Americans should leave their record players running at night in order to expose their children to more words. After that remark, the author of the 2017 study spoke to Politico and she criticized Biden for misunderstanding her study.
However, this time, the moderator pressed Biden on the subject.
Cooper said, “Mr. President, the question was on the — on community college… which was a big campaign promise that — that you made. You talked about that a lot on the campaign trail.”
Biden responded, “Oh, I — yeah. And I’m going to get it done.”
“And if I don’t, I’ll be sleeping alone for a long time.”
The Horn editorial team