Saturday, May 18, 2013

Republicans Led By John Kline (R-MN) Voted Down Elizabeth Warren's Plan To Lower Student Interest Rates


After watching him as a freshman senator, I never believed Obama would be a vehicle for Hope and Change. I voted for him in 2008 anyway. I couldn't force myself to do it again last November. Elizabeth Warren, on the other hand, is someone who I have actually bought into right from the start. I donated to her campaign and helped promote her cause. This week, her first proposed legislation has made me-- and thousands of others across the country who backed her-- proud. The Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act would lower student loan interest rates for one year from 3.4% to 0.75% -- the same rate the government loans money to the banks through the Federal Reserve discount window. As Senator Warren reminds us in the video above, student loan interest rates will double to 6.8% on July 1st without action.

John Tierney (D-MA) introduced a sister bill in the House. As Warren and Tierney have told their colleagues in both houses of Congress, "The biggest banks in the country-- the ones that wrecked our economy and cost millions of Americans their jobs-- pay next to nothing on their debt, while students pay nine times as much. The Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act lets students take advantage of the same low interest rates offered to banks through the Federal Reserve discount window:
Sets Interest Rates for Government Loans to Students at the Same Level as Government Loans to Banks. The Act would provide a one-year fix to the impending interest rate hike by setting the rate for federal subsidized Stafford loans at the primary interest rate offered through the Federal Reserve discount window as of July 1, 2013.

Funded by the Federal Reserve, Administered by the Department of Education. The Federal Reserve would make funds available to the Department of Education to make these loans. While the Federal Reserve would now provide funding, the Department of Education would continue to administer all other aspects of the federal subsidized Stafford loan program in the same manner as it currently does.
So Cantor and Boehner assigned it to John Kline's Education and Workforce Committee where they knew they could depend on the reactionary Kline to kill the bill. Thursday he called a vote and it died 23-14. Every Republican plus New Dem Jared Polis voted against it:
John Kline (MN)
Tom Petri (R-WI)
Buck McKeon (R-CA)
Joe Wilson (R-SC)
Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
Tom Price (R-GA)
Kenny Marchant (R-TX)
Duncan Hunter (R-Betty Ford Clinic)
Phil Roe (R-TN)
Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
Tim Walberg (R-MI)
Matt Salmon (R-AZ)
Brett Guthrie (R-KY)
Scott DesJarlais (R-TN)
Todd Rokita (R-IN)
Larry Bucshon (R-IN)
Joe Heck (R-NV)
Susan Brooks (R-IN)
Richard Hudson (R-NC)
Luke Messer (R-IN)
Jared Polis (New Dem-CO)
Mike Obermueller is the Minnesota Democrat running for Kline's seat next year. MN-02 is a winnable district for Democrats-- Obama beat Romney, though just barely. Last year Obermueller got no help from the DCCC whatsoever and Kline beat him 54-46%. Kline spent $1,957,356 and Obermueller spent $705,166. This year the DCCC is promising to help. Obermueller was disappointed but not surprised by Kline's reaction to Elizabeth Warren's proposal this week:
"You either want to help students or you don’t. Senator Warren’s bill took a stand in favor of students and Congressman Kline’s decision to kill the bill shows how short sighted his thinking is.

"Making sure students can afford to go to college means a better-trained workforce that not only attracts more businesses, but ensures our country is competing globally. Making it harder for families to afford college is downright bad for the economy.

"Unfortunately, Kline chairs the committee where good bills go to die."
Distinguished Simi Valley surgeon Lee Rogers, a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association, is deciding whether or not to run against Buck McKeon against next year. He's very enthusiastic about Elizabeth Warren's approach and spent a great deal of time speaking with students at College of the Canyons, Antelope Valley College, Cal Arts, and Cal State Northridge when he ran in 2012. When McKeon chaired the committee he was notorious for taking immense legalistic bribes from the big predatory lending institutions who ripped off students as normal business procedure. Rogers was ahead of his time when he spoke out about the issue last year, telling voters that outstanding student loan debt was over a TRILLION dollars, surpassing credit card debt and McKeon was just delighted to get his cut from the banksters and hustlers. The Republican plan, being pushed by McKeon acolytes, Kline and Foxx, which they call "market-driven," pegs the loans to 10-year Treasury notes, plus 2.5 percentage points. What market is driving that? The market for lobbyists bribing Members of Congress?
Democrats on the committee opposed the bill, saying it puts students and families at risk of paying more in the future.

"Our students and families deserve better than this bait-and-switch scheme we're voting on today," said California Representative George Miller, the senior Democrat on the committee.

"A low-income, four-year borrower enrolling in college next year would pay more interest on her student loans under the Republican proposal than she would if we took no action," he said.

The non-partisan Congressional Research Service estimates that under the Republican plan, a student who borrows the maximum amount of subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans over five years would pay $14,430 in interest. If rates were allowed to double on July 1, a student would pay $12,598, compared with $7,965 if rates don't double.

Labels: , , , , ,


At 10:54 AM, Anonymous me said...

After watching him as a freshman senator, I never believed Obama would be a vehicle for Hope and Change. I voted for him in 2008 anyway. I couldn't force myself to do it again last November.

You and me both. What a huge disappointment O'Bummer turned out to be.

You know, if the repubs impeach him, I will give him as much support has he has given me in the last five years. Exactly that much.


Post a Comment

<< Home