As of last night, it’s no longer a question of if Joe Biden and congressional Democrats are going to massively slash the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill to tempt Manchin and Sinema into voting for it, but where and how they will slash it. Following a meeting between the President and some members of the House Progressive Caucus led by Pramila Jayapal, Uncle Joe delivered the first dose of hard medicine to the troops. To get the bill down to somewhere near the bargain-basement price of two trillion dollars, “free” community college appears to be off the table. You will recall that this was one of the campaign promises that Biden repeated endlessly during debates and rallies, with the equally fervent support of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and the rest of the progressives. It was going to eat up a lot of money, however, and the cutting had to start someplace. Oh, and the new child tax credit will probably be allowed to expire also. But will they be able to get Jayapal’s crew to go along? It’s almost starting to look as if they might. (NBC News)
President Biden told progressive lawmakers on Tuesday that the final social spending bill is expected to drop tuition-free community college and curtail the child tax credit program, two sources familiar with the meeting told NBC News on Tuesday.
The sources told NBC News that the popular child tax credit will likely be extended for an additional year. The proposals had been pushed by many Democrats as ways to reduce poverty and remove financial barriers to higher education and vocational training.
The new details on the negotiations come as Biden and Democratic leaders feverishly work to reach a deal. But the talks remain fluid as the party works to narrow down the bill to a version that can become law.
Biden and the Democrats are battling against an imaginary deadline of October 31st to get this monstrous pork festival over the finish line. And as Ed Morrissey pointed out yesterday, it’s slowly dawning on them that Joe Manchin is serious. He really would tank the entire bill rather than cross any of several red lines he’s drawn in the sand. Sinema seems to be equally adamant.
As to whether or not the House Progressive Caucus will play along, Jayapal was dispatched to face the press corps after the meeting and it clearly sounded as if she’s successfully been enlisted to the cause. She showered Biden with praise for his masterful negotiating skills. In fact, it sort of sounded as if she was trying too hard. As in… way too hard. (Washington Examiner)
“The president is the inspirer, he is the closer, he is the convincer, the mediator in chief,” Jayapal said. “He really is doing a phenomenal job.”
When asked how the discussions between Biden and liberal House Democrats went, Jayapal described the conversations as “great” and “really conversational.”
Rep. Jayapal after meeting with Biden on massive spending package:
"The president is the inspirer, he is the closer, he is the convincer, the mediator in chief. He really is doing a phenomenal job." pic.twitter.com/u1RKNUHH35
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) October 19, 2021
When you’re asked to characterize a conversation you just had and you describe it as “really conversational,” I’m forced to wonder whether you just couldn’t come up with anything positive to say on the spur of the moment. But maybe that’s just me.
As to the entire issue of “free” community college, that was always a red herring. No college or university ever becomes “free” just because some people in Washington sign a piece of paper. It still costs money to build and maintain those schools. Staff members have to be paid. The power has to be kept on and the trash has to be emptied. You aren’t going to get volunteers to do all of that. So if it becomes “free,” that means that the burden is shifted to the taxpayers.
It’s truly the definition of socialism in its most basic form. The more things you make “free,” distributing the costs to the pool of taxpayer funds, the more resources you have to suck out of the system and “redistribute” to the politically favored recipients. Remember… a trillion here, a trillion there, and next thing you know you’re talking about real money. And the aforementioned taxpayers are already starting to notice. There’s a limit to how much “free stuff” the country is going to put up with as their financial burden continues to spiral upward. And the Democrats have been testing that limit for some time now.