Members of the House Democrat's 30-Something working group were troubled by the President's dismissal of the $12.7 billion student loan cut in the Republican budget at a Kansas State University Q&A earlier today.
"This year's Republican budget cut $12.7 billion in funding for student loan programs over the next five years and if President Bush doesn't understand that, then either he doesn't understand the true impact this will have on American families or he doesn't care," said Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL). "With tuition sky rocketing out of reach for American students and families, Congress should be increasing student loan programs, not cutting them."
This year's Republican budget cuts $12.7 billion from student loan programs over five years. The cuts eliminate all government spending to administer the loan programs, charge students higher loan fees, and raise the interest rate on parent loans from 7.9 to 8.5 percent. The Bush Administration is the first to cut Department of Education funding since 1988.
"The President's remarks show how disgracefully out-of-touch he is to the concerns of average Americans. Either President Bush doesn't know the Republican budget cuts student loans by a record amount, or he knows it and chooses to deny it. Regardless, students across America are depending on the President and the Republican Congress to stand up to the special interests and work with Democrats to restore this vital funding to the student aid program," said Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH).
The President claimed that the number of students receiving Pell Grants is growing, but did not address the fact that, for the fourth year in a row, the Republican-led Congress has failed to raise the maximum value of the Pell Grant scholarship - now set at $4,050 - even though it is worth $900 less in inflation-adjusted terms than it was in 1975-76.
The 30-Something working group is a collection of 13 Democratic Members of the House of Representatives who are under the age of 40. The group is committed to young Americans' concerns with today's government and political process.