Biden pushes 17 years of free school, asks companies and wealthy to pay ‘fair share’

President Joe Biden speaks after meeting with leaders from Georgia's Asian-American and Pacific Islander community, Friday, March 19, 2021, at Emory University in Atlanta, as Vice President Kamala Harris listens

President Joe Biden on Monday called on wealthy Americans and corporations to pay their “fair share” to fund free community college and other benefits for workers as he promoted his sweeping jobs and safety-net plans in Virginia.

Speaking at Tidewater Community College in the port city of Norfolk, Biden said his proposed expansion of the U.S. public education system would rebalance the economy and benefit lower-income Americans.

The United States could provide two free years of post-secondary education by raising the top income tax rate to the level it was in 2001, Biden said. He has proposed increasing the top marginal rate for the wealthiest Americans to 39.6% from 37%.

“The choice is about who the economy serves. And so I plan on giving tax breaks to the working-class folks and making everybody pay their fair share,” he said.

The Democratic president faces significant opposition from Republicans to his tax and spending plans, even with his promise that individuals making less than $400,000 annually will not be affected. Democrats hold slim majorities in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

Biden has vowed to work with lawmakers from both parties, but no Republicans voted for his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package, the biggest legislative achievement of Biden’s presidency so far.

He may have less than two years to fulfill his big campaign promises if Republicans win control of one or both chambers of Congress in the November 2022 election.

The president and top administration officials are traveling the country to stir up enthusiasm for his proposals in the hopes that public support will translate to Republican votes in Congress.

On Monday, Biden, joined by his wife, community college professor Jill Biden, reviewed science projects with a class of fifth-grade students at an elementary school in nearby Yorktown before visiting the community college. The students had clear shields in front of their desks as a guard against the coronavirus.

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