Washington, D.C. – Following President Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress, Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) released the following statement:  

“Tonight, we saw true leadership from President Biden. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to heed his call for unity.  Now is the time for all of us to come together and tackle the great challenges we face as a nation in ways that reflect on our common values and our shared commitment to this country. President Biden has been unwavering in his confidence in our ability to overcome any obstacle and prevail over any hardship if we all work together. Like the President, I strongly believe the American people are best served when Democrats and Republicans set our differences aside and focus on practical solutions over partisan gain,” said Congresswoman Ross.

“The pandemic brought new, unexpected struggles and pain, and tonight President Biden spoke convincingly about the critical importance of safely getting people back to work and to school; delivering commonsense gun reform; lowering healthcare costs, particularly in light of the pandemic; and creating a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. I am especially pleased that the President used this address to highlight his plan to provide tuition-free community college, an issue I have championed and which forms part of the groundbreaking American Families Plan, a historic investment in education and childcare.”

Congresswoman Ross’ virtual guest to the address was Wake Tech President, Dr. Scott Ralls. In President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, nearly $40 billion went toward the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund to help both four-year institutions and community colleges like Wake Tech. In addition, the President’s proposed American Jobs Plan includes $12 billion to upgrade the physical and technological infrastructure of America’s community colleges. Ross also applauded the President’s third legislative proposal, the American Families Plan, for including free community college for all Americans.   

Specifically, the American Families Plan would:  

  • Provide universal access to high-quality, free pre-K for 3- and 4- year-olds;
  • Make two years of community college free for all Americans;
  • Lower college cost for low- and middle- income students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority Serving Institutions (MCIs);
  • Increase the maximum Pell Grant award by approximately $1,400 and allow DREAMers to access the funding;
  • Invest $9 billion to strengthen teacher pipelines and address shortages, increasing the number of teachers of color and supporting the growth of all teachers;
  • Extend the Child Tax Credit increases in the American Rescue Plan for another five years, increasing tax credits for child under 6 from $2,000 to $3,600 and for child over 6 from $2,000 to $3,000;
  • Provide comprehensive paid family and medical leave, allowing workers to take the time they need to care for themselves or loved ones; and
  • Expand nutrition assistance, school meal programs, and summer meal programs for children and families.