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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

30-something Dems speak out on Bush student loan cuts
From the YDA mailbag, a press release that neatly lines up with our issues for this session (sorry it didn't come with a clear attribution):
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.
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posted by Aerodad at 1/24/2006 09:36:00 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the transcript of the event:

Q Hi, I just want to get your comments about education. Recently, $12.7 billion was cut from education, and I was just wondering how that's supposed to help our futures? (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Education budget was cut -- say it again. What was cut?

Q Twelve point seven billion dollars was cut from education, and I was just wondering how is that supposed to help our --

THE PRESIDENT: At the federal level?

Q Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: I don't think that -- I don't think we've actually -- for higher education? Student loans?

Q Yes, student loans.

THE PRESIDENT: Actually, I think what we did was reform the student loan program. We're not cutting money out of it. In other words, people aren't going to be cut off the program. We're just making sure it works better. Part of the reconciliation package, I think she's talking about. Yes, it's a reform of the program to make sure it functions better. It is -- in other words, we're not taking people off student loans, we're saving money in the student loan program because it's inefficient. And so I think the thing to look at is whether or not there will be fewer people getting student loans. I don't think so. And, secondly, on Pell grants, we're actually expanding the number of Pell grants through our budget.

But, great question. I think that the key on education is to make sure that we stay focused on how do we stay competitive into the 21st century. And I plan on doing some talking about math and science and engineering programs, so that people who graduate out of college will have the skills necessary to compete in this competitive world.

But I'm -- I think I'm right on this. I'll check when I get back to Washington. But thank you for your question. (Applause.)

1/24/2006 10:58:00 AM  

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