HBCUs to get ‘significant funding’ as Biden, Dems work feverishly to pass spending deal

EXCLUSIVE: President Biden's Build Back Better plan may fall short on expectations of Black voters, but federal dollars for HBCUs are described as "extraordinary"

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President Joe Biden spoke with members of the House Democratic Caucus on Thursday morning, hours before his departure to the G20 summit in Europe. In between these two events, President Biden also addressed the American people to explain where he sees a path forward on his Build Back Better (BBB) agenda. 

U.S. President Joe Biden
U.S. President Joe Biden walks into the U.S. Capitol building with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for a meeting with House Democrats on the continued negotiations over the domestic spending Bills before the President departs for Europe on October 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Senior White House officials suggest that the White House’s updated framework will “guide the writing of legislative text” and “earn the support of all 50 senators and pass the House.”

But the BBB plan may fall short on the expectations of Black voters in areas that can’t be overlooked. It’s still unclear how much of President Biden’s proposed multi-billion-dollar plan for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will make the cut for the final framework and legislative text.

Democratic Congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia exclusively told theGrio that the White House and Congress has been crunching numbers into the wee hours of the night. He emphasized that HBCUs will see “significant funding” as they have over the last two years, but the specific amount is still being determined. 

Scott credits his leadership in the House Committee on Labor and Education to securing more money for HBCUs during the pandemic than they had seen in the previous ten years. He describes the recent funding as “extraordinary.” 

Graduates participate in Howard University’s 146th commencement exercises on May 10, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images for DKC)

Thus far, the president’s framework will increase the maximum Pell Grant by $550 for the more than 5 million students enrolled in public and private, non-profit colleges and expand access to DREAMers. Among the beneficiaries will be three quarters of HBCU students who receive Pell Grants. 

Educators across the landscape will also see a jump in funding. ​​Build Back Better will increase the Labor Department’s annual spending on workforce development by 50% for each of the next 5 years.

Urban America is also seeking improvements in quality of living. Revitalizing public housing has made the final round of cuts, but the final allocation figure is also still being decided. 

Despite having to make significant cuts to the overall budget for Build Back Better and scale back plans, care for families, climate, healthcare, middle class costs, and tax fairness will still be addressed through a $1.75 trillion effort. Furthermore, the framework seeks to ensure children in the United States are no longer drinking poisoned water, that every American is connected to broadband, and that historic investments in transit are made.

Children and teachers from the KU Kids Deanwood Childcare Center complete a mural in celebration of the launch of the Child Tax Credit on July 14, 2021 at the KU Kids Deanwood Childcare Center in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Community Change)

Investing in the nation’s youth and family caregiving will be the most direct investment in human infrastructure included in this new framework that will impact Black America. From child tax credits, expanding medicare to include hearing, to increasing free school lunches, the BBB improves programs the Black community utilizes regularly. 

Additionally, the administration contends the overall cost of the BBB plan will be expensed through making corporations and billionaires pay their fair share. Senior White House officials said the framework would, “ask the highest income Americans to pay their fair share by creating a new surtax on the income of multimillionaires and billionaires, the top point .2% of Americans. It would apply a 5% rate above income of $10 million to an additional 3% rate above income of $25 million.” 

As Color of Change President Rashad Robinson, “Hardworking families are being put in deeply challenging situations. It’s not that these families are vulnerable, it’s that they’ve been targeted, attacked, and exploited.”

He tells theGrio, “We have to do everything that we can to hold those in power accountable for actually providing.”

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