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First lady Jill Biden argues that Build Back Better shouldn’t be tossed around like ‘a football to pass or pivot’

US First Lady Jill Biden waves as she walks off the plane as she arrives in Savannah, Georgia on July 8, 2021.

JIM WATSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

  • Jill Biden spoke out on her frustrations about free community college no longer being a part of BBB.
  • She argued that legislation shouldn’t be tossed around like a football.
  • “Governing isn’t a game. There are no teams to root for or against,” the first lady said.

First lady Jill Biden argued Monday that legislation shouldn’t be tossed around or treated as a game because it impacts everyone.

“Build Back Better isn’t just a piece of legislation and it’s certainly not a football to pass or pivot,” Biden said of her husband’s signature piece of legislation.

Her remarks come as she expressed disappointment over the decision lawmakers made to nix free community college from President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. 

“Governing isn’t a game. There are no teams to root for or against, just people, Americans from all walks of life who need help and hope,” Biden said during her speech at the Community College National Legislative Summit.

According to a 2020 study by the Federal Trade Commission, free community college would raise enrollment by 26% and generally improve welfare for community college students.

The president announced the idea to remove the tuition-free community college piece of his spending deal in October, but the first lady, a professor who teaches at the community college level, attempted to encourage Americans with her speech.

The BBB framework that was being proposed at the end of 2021 is all but dead, due to opposition by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Though there have been recent comments by the president and on Capitol Hill that the bill could be broken up or reworked.

She argued that legislation becomes a back and forth effort between parties and that “Americans get lost in the playbook.”

Even if one party “wins,” she states, the other doesn’t necessarily “lose.”

“All of us must do our part because the decisions that are made in the halls of Congress and the rooms of the White House affect us all,” the first lady added. 

“Governing does have one thing in common with sports,” she said. “When you get knocked down, you have to get back up. When you lose, you work harder and you come back for more.”

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