In a preview to the State of the Union, on Thursday President Obama unveiled plans to make 2 yrs of community college free for those willing to work hard. Details will be announced Thursday evening and the full announcement will come on Friday.
President Obama said, “Put simply, what I’d like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for anybody who’s willing to work for it,” he said. “It’s something we can accomplish, and it;s something that will train our workforce so that we can compete with anyone in the world.”
This plan will require congressional approval, but judging from the initial reaction to the idea, the White House has hit another political home run. For the third time in less than two months, President Obama has caught Republicans completely off guard. The expectation is that congressional Republicans will immediately turn up their noses at the plan. Boehner and McConnell will roar that the country can’t afford the cost that will come with developing a better-educated workforce.
After creating nearly 11 million jobs over the past 57 months, which is the longest streak of private-sector job growth on record, President Obama isn’t about to sit still for the last two years of his Presidency. In fact, he is going to work to implement the ideas the American people re-elected him (in a landslide) to do. In spite of Republicans.
The President said of his last two years, “My presidency is entering the fourth quarter. Interesting stuff happens in the fourth quarter.”
Community college free for two years? What a great way to even the playing field for those who are willing to work hard. There is nothing more fundamentally American than opportunity for hard work.
The latest idea by the president is another body blow to the new Republican controlled Congress, who believed that this week was going to be their victory lap. (The Republican victory lap has so far consisted of getting mired in a racism scandal and passing a bill that the president is certain to veto.) Once again, President Obama is two steps ahead of his opponents. Republicans are left on the defensive and wondering what this president will hit them with next.
Update 9:00 AM Jan 9th: The White House released a fact sheet on the President’s proposal Friday morning. You can read it here.