Biden’s Second Reconciliation Proposal Takes Shape, With Higher Ed Policies to Come


Hugh T. Ferguson
April 1, 2021
President Joe Biden took to Pittsburgh to pitch an infrastructure package on Wednesday and while the proposal primarily contains transportation-related policies, the process by which it could be implemented is likely to incorporate a number of higher education provisions.
The infrastructure package will likely be rolled into the next reconciliation package, which is expected to also contain language concerning free community college as well as tuition breaks for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) among the main higher education components. In its current form, the package calls for $12 billion in community college infrastructure.
Budget reconciliation is a legislative maneuver that does not require a 60-vote threshold in the Senate by providing a “fast-track” process for the consideration of bills to implement the policy choices embodied in the annual congressional budget resolution. However, limits are placed on what policy changes can be considered via reconciliation, making the move particularly challenging.