First lady admits defeat after free community college initiative stripped out of Build Back Better legislation

President Joe Biden had a fairly unsuccessful year in terms of getting his policies fully implemented and legislative agenda passed through Congress, particularly concerning the now-dead multi-trillion-dollar Build Back Better measure full of a variety of social programs favored by Democrats.

Included in the Build Back Better bill was an initiative touted by first lady Jill Biden to provide free community college for all, but she admitted that her initiative was “no longer” part of a scaled-down package the White House was attempting to revive, the Conservative Brief reported.

It was a rare acknowledgment of defeat from an administration that routinely shies away from such admissions and instead attempts to spin bad news in as positive a light as possible.

A promise made that was not kept

The Associated Press had reported exactly one year ago in February 2021 when first lady Biden announced her free community college initiative in remarks delivered to the virtual Community College National Legislative Summit in Washington D.C.

“We have to get this done. And we have to do it now,” Biden said at that time. “That’s why we’re going to make sure that everyone has access to free community college and training programs.”

That statement matched vows from then-candidate Joe Biden on the 2020 campaign trail of “free” two-year community college for everyone who wanted it, and according to the Conservative Brief, the initiative touted by the first lady was ultimately included when President Biden unveiled his Build Back Better legislative plan a short time later.

However, as CNN reported this week, largely because of moderate Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) refusal to go along with the costly spending measure, the president’s Build Back Better legislation is, for all intents and purposes, dead and buried.

Initially, the bill had included approximately $45.5 billion for states to use to provide “free” two-year community college tuition over five years, but that provision has reportedly been stripped out of a slimmed-down version that the president and congressional allies are hoping to resurrect.

The first lady admits defeat

Now, one year later, the first lady who is herself a community college teacher was forced to concede defeat on the issue in another speech to the same group holding this year’s summit in D.C.

“One year ago, I told this group that Joe was going to fight for community colleges. And since then, we’ve made some incredible progress,” Biden said in her remarks and proceeded to list off a few of the administration’s accomplishments in that regard.

“But Joe has also had to make compromises. Congress hasn’t passed the Build Back Better agenda — yet. And free community college is no longer a part of that package,” she admitted.

“We knew this wouldn’t be easy — Joe has always said that. Still, like you, I was disappointed,” the first lady added.

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