By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – President Joe Biden’s big domestic agenda includes proposals for child care programs, universal pre-kindergarten, and an extension of the child tax credit.

But it’s still not clear if Democrats have the votes to pass it.

On the campaign trail, Joe Biden made a lot of promises. One of the biggest was free community college for all and free pre-kindergarten for every 3 and 4-year-old.

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But the president has had to scale back his proposals recently. Community college is now out, a casualty of drawn-out negotiations with his own party.

Two senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have forced the President to make some big cuts in order to get their support.

The Child Tax credit is also being scaled back. Since July millions of families have been getting checks of  $250 to $300 a month for each child in their household. Progressives want to make that permanent, but for now, it looks like it will be extended by one year.

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Rep. Ilhan Omar (credit: CBS)

“This is a very popular program, it’s dubbed as being one that is cutting child poverty in half and I think it’s an investment that we have to continue to invest in,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar, on WCCO’s Talking Points segment on Sunday.

Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is the Progressive Caucus Whip, meaning she is in charge of whipping up votes.

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The President’s paid leave proposal is also down from 12 weeks to 4. These cuts have angered Progressives who at times have threatened to withhold their support.

“What we have been saying, is that we can’t try to make too many concessions to these two Senators without making concessions to the Progressive block, and I think we are going to try and find a happy medium,” said Omar.
Other line items that appear out include Medicare expansion to include free dental and hearing aids for seniors, as well as climate change proposals. The new deadline for passage of the scaled-back bill is Halloween.
The concern for critics is of course the cost. Originally as expensive as $3 trillion, the President’s proposal is now down to about $2 trillion. The latest proposal on how to pay for it is a tax on billionaires.

Esme Murphy