HIGHER EDUCATION EXTENSION ACT OF 2006 -- (House of Representatives - March 14, 2006)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to support H.R. 4911, a 3-month extension of the Higher Education Act. And I extend my congratulations to Mr. Keller in his new role as subcommittee Chair.
This, in essence, temporarily extends the last portions of the Higher Education Act not reauthorized in the reconciliation package.
During the 1998 reauthorization, I had the opportunity to work closely with Chairman McKeon in crafting a bipartisan bill. Despite a rocky reauthorization process so far this Congress, I still hope we can build on our previous partnerships.
Most of the damaging changes to the Higher Education Act in student aid have already been passed in reconciliation, which I opposed. That action forever removed nearly $12 billion from student aid programs and missed an opportunity to reinvest in students already struggling to pay for college.
With this highly contentious and misguided portion no longer connected to the reauthorization, I hope we can now move forward in a bipartisan way as we reauthorize the few remaining items of the Higher Education Act.
Several good-faith compromises were made in the nonstudent aid portions of reauthorization when we marked up H.R. 609 this past summer. Yet the bill was far from bipartisan when the Committee on Education and the Workforce reported H.R. 609 in July by a party-line vote.
As we move forward this year with my good friend Mr. McKeon as the new committee Chair, I hope we can build on the bipartisan spirit of the 1998 reauthorization that we worked on together.
Again, I would like to thank Chairman McKeon for offering H.R. 4911, the 3-month extension of the Higher Education Act, and I am pleased to offer my support and cosponsorship. I hope that this extension will allow the Republican leadership time to work with us to move forward in a bipartisan way as we finish our work on the higher education reauthorization.