Biden ‘not sure’ enhanced child tax credit, free community college will stay in Build Back Better

Personal Finance

U.S. President Joe Biden holds a formal news conference in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, D.C., January 19, 2022.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Important pieces of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda may have to come out of the bill.

Children and college students will pay the price.

“There’s two really big components that I feel strongly about that I’m not sure I can get in the package,” Biden told reporters Wednesday. “One is the childcare tax credit, and the other is help for cost of community colleges.”

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The original proposal for Build Back Better included making community college tuition-free for two years, something that Biden has advocated for since his time on the campaign trail.

It also proposed a five-year extension of the enhanced child tax credit, which was initially passed through the American Rescue Plan. The enhanced benefit increased the size of the credit and allowed families to get half of it in advance monthly checks, which ran from July to December and were up to $300 per child.

Democrats had to slash parts of the original $3.5 trillion proposal to attempt to pass the bill through budget reconciliation, a sped-up process that would require all Democratic senators to support the legislation.

Eventually, the plan was cut down to a $1.75 trillion package that included a one-year extension of the child tax credit and expanded financial aid for college. It also included universal pre-K, would have expanded Medicare to cover hearing aids and broadened Medicaid coverage for low-income Americans.

While that bill was passed by the House in November, it hit a wall in the Senate where it’s opposed by moderate Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Democrats need all 50 Senators to approve the measure as Republicans remain opposed to it.

Still, Biden said that he will try to pass the legislation in parts.

“They are massive things that I’ve run on, I care a great deal about,” said Biden, adding that he hopes that much of the bill can be passed in chunks.

“I think we can break the package up, get as much as we can now and come back and fight for the rest of it,” he said.

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