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Public Statements

Second Higher Education Extension Act of 2006

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, the last couple of weeks and months have been times of mixed emotions for a lot of American families. Many people got the thick envelope in the mail that told them they were accepted to the school they really want to get into. And then it became time to figure out how to pay for it.

Now, a few families were fortunate enough, very few families were fortunate enough, they have enough income to meet the tuition payment. Others immediately went down to the bank and made a home equity loan application to figure out a way to borrow enough money to send their son or daughter to school. Others weren't so fortunate and had to decide some other course, maybe including not going to school at all. And then others who are themselves already parents who are raising children and working full time just can't figure out a way to do it without putting themselves so far in debt that it makes no sense to get an education.

This bill is a missed opportunity to address that problem. There were significant savings generated in the student loan programs that were thrown away by the reconciliation bill, the budget-cutting bill passed by this Congress late in 2005. Money that could have been used to raise loan limits, eliminate origination fees, expand programs where people can pay back their loan as a function of their income, money that could have been used to increase Pell Grants was instead put into the economic priorities of this majority: tax cuts for the very wealthy, subsidies for corporate America and misadventures around the world. So here we are feebly extending existing terms of this bill, while millions of American families struggle with the very real problem of how to pay for a higher education.

This is a missed opportunity. It calls for a radical change in the country's priorities away from tax breaks for the wealthy, away from welfare for corporate America, away from misadventures around the world, toward educating and investing in the people of this country. Those changes in priorities are coming.


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