Former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaNew year brings more liberated Joe Biden After the loss of three giants of conservation, Biden must pick up the mantle Kyrsten Sinema's courage, Washington hypocrisy and the politics of rage MORE on Thursday embraced the scaled-down framework for Democrats' social spending package released by the Biden administration, calling it a "giant leap forward" even as some progressives express concern about what was left out.
"In a country as large and diverse as ours, progress can often feel frustrating and slow, with small victories accompanied by frequent setbacks. But once in a while, it’s still possible to take a giant leap forward," Obama said in a statement on President BidenJoe BidenCarville advises Democrats to 'quit being a whiny party' Wendy Sherman takes leading role as Biden's 'hard-nosed' Russia negotiator Sullivan: 'It's too soon to tell' if Texas synagogue hostage situation part of broader extremist threat MORE's $1.75 trillion proposal.
Obama pointed to investments in child care included in the plan that would ensure access to early education for millions of children; expanded health care access through tax credits and funding; and money for clean energy programs to combat climate change.
"The Build Back Better framework doesn’t contain everything that the President proposed and that some had hoped," Obama said. "But that’s the nature of progress in a democracy. The good news is that it represents the best chance we’ve had in years to build on the progress we made during my administration and address some of the most urgent challenges of our time.
"I’m grateful to President Biden, Democrats in Congress, and everyone who has raised their voice and put their faith in government to do big things," he added. "The fight continues, but today’s landmark agreement is an important step on our long journey to live up to our highest ideals."
Obama's statement echoed Biden's own remarks at the White House, where he acknowledged nobody got everything they wanted in the framework. But Biden argued it was critical for Congress to pass his plan to ensure the country could remain economically competitive for years to come.
"I know it’s hard. I know how deeply people feel about the things that they fight for. But this framework includes historic investments in our nation and in our people," Biden said.
The $1.75 trillion framework includes billions in funding for child care, health care, climate and housing programs. But it's significantly scaled back from the $3.5 trillion framework Democrats proposed earlier this year and leaves out plans to lower prescription drug prices and offer paid family leave.
A number of Democrats have expressed reservations about the framework, particularly progressives. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats call on Biden to step up virus response We are America's independent contractors, and we are terrified Overnight Health Care — Biden's Supreme Court setback MORE (I-Vt.) said the plan contained "major gaps," while some progressive House members indicated it would not be enough to win their support for a more targeted infrastructure bill in the meantime.