Democrats could throw free community college overboard to get Biden's agenda over the line, the Education Secretary worries
- Democrats are debating what will be included in their final social spending bill.
EducationSecretary Miguel Cardonaworried free community collegemight not survive the debates.
- Progressives are holding firm on including the
policy, but moderate lawmakers could jeopardize it.
The future of Democrats' $3.5 trillion social-spending bill is up in the air right now, and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona is worried free
Progressives are adamant about preserving the contents in the bill, like paid family leave, and universal pre-K, but opposition from the more moderate members of their party could put those elements at risk.
"I'm worried that's one of the things that is being looked at to be cut from the Build Back Better agenda," Cardona told Politico in an interview, referring to free community college. "That would be a shame, because we're so close to leveling the playing field for so many students."
Early last month, the House education committee unveiled its portion of the
But moderate Democrats - particularly Sens.
Should free community college be means tested, the benefit would only be available to a limited number of students, reducing the expansive education reforms Cardona and progressives, are pushing for.
Michigan Rep. Andy Levin, a member of the House education committee who helped draft the free community college proposal, told Politico he is "super concerned" about the measure being cut from the bill.
"Until the ink is dry on the Build Back Better Act, and the president has signed it, I am going to be sweating to make sure community college funding - the president's vision of it - is fully in there," Levin said.
Given debate among Democrats over what will end up in the final bill, it's unclear when it will be passed through Congress and make it to the president's desk, but Cardona urged lawmakers to put students first and not succumb to moderate demands.
"In the next month, our colleagues on the Hill will determine the fate of community college in our country's future," Cardona said during a speech in Detroit. "Will they embrace the opportunity to forge opportunity out of crisis? Or will they yield to comfort and complacency?"
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