Boehner Outlines Plan to Strengthen Higher Education & Protect Pensions on Behalf of Students, Workers, Retirees & Taxpayers
October 25, 2005
Boehner Challenges Democrats to Join Republicans in Efforts to Rein in Out-of-Control Federal Spending
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. House Education & the Workforce Committee Chairman John Boehner (R-OH) today outlined a proposal (available here) to strengthen federal student aid programs and protect worker pensions by shoring up the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). Taken together, these proposals will meet the Committee's instruction to find $18.1 billion in net savings over the next five years by reducing program waste and inefficiency and placing higher education and pension systems on more stable financial foundations to ensure their long-term viability for students, workers, retirees, and taxpayers.
"Republicans have pledged to put forward a responsible budget that fulfills our national priorities while protecting the interests of taxpayers. The Committee is going to do our part by eliminating waste and inefficiency while securing the long-term future of programs to provide college access and a secure retirement for American families," said Boehner.
"Democrats call for fiscal responsibility but they have no plan to reduce spending or eliminate any federal programs. They talk of spending restraint but then propose billion dollar new programs without paying for them," said Boehner. "So far Democrats have sat idly by and chosen to be spectators rather than participants as Congress makes important fiscal decisions on behalf of the country. If Democrats are serious about fiscal responsibility, they should join Republicans to rein in out-of-control federal spending."
The Education & the Workforce Committee moved forward earlier this year with comprehensive proposals to strengthen and reform the Higher Education Act (HEA) and protect the retirement security of millions of Americans by reforming outdated pension laws. The Committee this week will build upon those proposals, targeting areas in which savings can be generated by reducing program waste and inefficiency and providing the PBGC with additional resources.
Reforms to the Higher Education Act are focused on expanding college access for low- and middle-income students while simultaneously generating savings for taxpayers by eliminating program waste and inefficiency, trimming excess subsidies paid to lenders, and placing the aid programs on a more stable financial foundation to ensure their long-term viability and success for future generations of American students. These reforms are accompanied by proposals to strengthen student aid programs and expand student benefits, including reducing student loan fees, expanding borrowing opportunities, protecting borrowers' credit, easing the financial aid process, and providing greater flexibility within the loan programs.
As Congress continues work on more comprehensive reforms to strengthen the worker pension system, it remains clear that strengthening the financial condition of the PBGC is a priority. Congress has not raised the premiums employers pay to the PBGC since 1991, so the Committee is proposing a reasonable premium increase that will help strengthen the financial condition of the PBGC immediately.
"Taken as a whole, these proposals will help put federal student loan programs and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation on a more stable financial foundation so they can serve students, workers, and retirees well into the future," said Boehner. "Just as important, these reforms also serve the interests of American taxpayers."
The Committee is scheduled to meet tomorrow, October 26, 2005 at 10:30 a.m. in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building to consider the proposal. For more information, see the Education & the Workforce Committee's "A Plan for Fiscal Responsibility: Strengthening Higher Education and Protecting Retirement Security on Behalf of Students, Workers, Retirees, & Taxpayers" at http://edworkforce.house.gov/fiscalresponsibility.pdf.