House Votes For Easier College Access
by RDemocrat, Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 05:31:02 PM EDT
Crossposted from Hillbilly Report.
The House of Representatives voted today to shift student loans to the government freeing up $80 million dollars for other investments. The Student Loan and Fiscal Responsibility Act now goes to the Senate where most believe it will be enacted and signed by President Obama. Proponents of the bill cited that it would assure that students could still get loans in a tough economy and that it would save money to be re-invested. Republicans touted that it was more big government that would take loans away from their buddies in the credit industry and that it would add to the deficit, ingnoring that it would actually save money.
Despite the usual doomsayers in the Republican Party this bill does do a lot of good for a lot of people:
"This legislation provides students and families with the single largest investment in federal student aid ever," said Representative George Miller, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, who wrote the bill. "Today the House made a clear choice to stop funneling vital taxpayer dollars through board rooms and start sending them directly to dorm rooms."
"This legislation helps renew the promise of student aid programs for the tens of millions of students who rely on grants, loans and access to community college to achieve a college education," said Rich Williams, the higher education associate for U.S. PIRG.
The No. 1 reason we entered the whole review of the student loan situation was reliability, to make sure that loans will be available regardless of the credit markets," said Robert Shireman, the deputy undersecretary of education. "We came very close to a tough situation last year."
The legislation includes about $10 billion for community colleges, some for workforce-training programs and some for construction, an unprecedented federal investment in the two-year colleges that enroll about six million students a year.
It provides about $8 billion for early childhood programs, another area that has received little federal aid, and $2.55 billion for historically black colleges and universities.
Despite this, Republicans pulled out the same arguments they use in the healthcare debate to disguise their real hangup, it ends some government provided Corporate Welfare:
Republicans and private lenders alike have characterized the student-loan legislation as an intrusive government takeover that will erode consumer choice -- the same arguments raised in opposition to health-care reform.
"Today's vote was about expanding the size and scope of the federal government through tens of billions of dollars in new entitlement spending and the elimination of choice, competition, and the innovation of the private sector," he said. "This job-killing legislation is rife with hidden costs that will be passed on to future generations."
These hidden costs seem to be that it will cost those that would charge a higher interest rate than the government to do the same thing, give loans. As with healthcare, huge costs could be saved by merely cutting out the middle-men and saving their share to help the students who take the loans.
Despite constantly lecturing us about "fiscal responsibility" Kentucky Republicans lined up solidly to extend Corporate Welfare at the expense of our children who hope to attend college. Kentucky's Democrats, Yarmuth and Chandler both voted for the measure:
Democrats - Chandler, Y; Yarmuth, Y.
Republicans - Davis, N; Guthrie, N; Rogers, N; Whitfield, N.
I think this once again properly demonstrates the hypocrisy of Kentucky Republicans and the Republican Party as a whole. They constantly lecture us on spending, but they care little about money being wasted as long as it is being wasted on corporate welfare. When presented with a chance to both save money, and help working poor children afford college, they would rather waste that $80 billion.
I think this bill will eventually be instrumental in helping many kids and adults get the education they need to diversify our workforce and help bring America back to life as a power in science and industry. American students won a very important victory today.