When it comes to the political process, Jill Biden says it treats legislation like a football to “pass or pivot” while real people, such as her community college students, continue to wait for assistance that would help them build better futures, she went public with her frustrations on Monday.
“Running a country isn’t a toy. The first lady delivered a speech to community college advocates that appeared to be aimed at members of Congress, saying, “There are no teams to root for or against, just people, Americans from all walks of life who need help and hope.”
While running for president, Joe Biden vowed to make community college tuition-free, but that promise has since been dropped from the larger social welfare and climate bill that was a top domestic priority for his wife.
Her frank remarks stood out from the norm, as first ladies tend to stay out of the political fray and stay out of the legislative process.
In contrast, Jill Biden, who has taught at community colleges for years and has long advocated for free tuition at these institutions, sees the issue as personal.
During the Obama administration, while her husband was vice president, she worked on the issue.
Due to opposition from key Senate Democrats who objected to the overall measure’s scope and cost and whose votes he desperately needed due to strong opposition from Republicans in a chamber split 50-50, Vice President Biden dropped the tuition plan.
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia recently declared the “Build Back Better” bill “dead” in the Senate, despite the fact that the bill had already been stalled there.
Biden told the national legislative summit of Association of Community College Trustees on Monday that the president will continue to push for the adoption of the proposal by congressmen and women.
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“Joe doesn’t give up easily. He refuses to give in. He is following through on his campaign promise to rebuild the middle class, and he is well aware of the role played by community colleges in this process “To cheers, the first lady said.
On taped remarks last year, Jill Biden, who has worked as a community college English and writing professor for more than 30 years, promised that with her husband in the Oval Office, her dream of waiving some tuition would come true.
There is no time to waste.” And we need to act quickly. Hence, she said in 2021, “we’re going to ensure that everyone has access to free community college and training programs.”
She blamed the president’s failure to deliver on the “compromise” he had to make on Monday when she spoke to a masked audience in a hotel ballroom.
One of the first lady’s students had to borrow a book from her because he couldn’t buy it before payday, and the student mom who dropped out of class after her child became sick with COVID-19 was also mentioned.
Tuition-free higher education, financial assistance for child care, and other provisions of the stalled legislation would benefit both of these students.
A piece of legislation, “Build Back Better,” Jill Biden said, “isn’t just a football to pass or pivot.”
Before getting to her point, the first lady, a native Pennsylvanian, spoke briefly about her love of sports and the Philadelphia teams.
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While she is the first lady of the United States, she has a soft spot for the Philadelphia Eagles, the 76ers, Philadelphia Phillies, and the Philadelphia Flyers. “I enjoy the competition, the crowds, and the rivalries.”
In other words, “too often, we treat what happens in our nation’s capital like a sports game, wondering which team will score the most points with voters,” she said. A football-shaped piece of legislation is turned into legislation, and Americans get lost in the playbook as a result.
According to Jill Biden, both she and President Obama were aware that receiving free college tuition would not be an easy feat “but “because these aren’t just bills or budgets to me,” she was still disappointed.
President Obama’s wife called it “a real lesson in human nature” that some people “just don’t get” what the words mean for real people and for students.
The San Diego Union-Tribune first reported on this story.