* Mr. ROSKAM. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to the reconciliation procedure that will transform over one-sixth of our nation's economy and increasingly cause reliance on the federal government for healthcare and education. Beyond my procedural and political problems, I have major concerns with the elimination of the Federal Family Education Loan program because it will destroy an important tool for need-based graduate student aid--the School as Lender program. Overhauling the federal student loan program will have unintended consequences in the form of lost private sector jobs and lost opportunities for graduate students in Illinois' Sixth Congressional District. Millions of dollars in financial aid for thousands of students across the country will be lost. I also fear the program will add to our nation's already record deficit.
* Procedurally, the proposal has not received a hearing or markup in the United States Senate. At least nine Democrats in the Senate have written with concerns on the proposal's effect on job losses in the private sector.
* The elimination of the School as Lender program ignores the needs of graduate students. Schools obtain credit to make loans and use the proceeds from their origination to support financial aid. Proceeds from the sale of loans must be returned to graduate students in the form of need-based grants. A 2005 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report stated, ``School lenders either used money to lower borrowing costs and/or provide need-based grants to its students.'' Without School as Lender, many students will now be forced to take out more loans and student debt.
* Within my Congressional District, one of the pioneers of the School as Lender program, Midwestern University, uses its School as Lender program to provide need-based grants to students who would otherwise not be able to pursue the University's graduate programs in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, dental medicine and other health sciences. Decreasing access to education for low-income students would further inflame the shortage of the healthcare workforce as Congress considers a massive healthcare takeover. Over the past three academic years, Midwestern University has paid out over four million dollars in School as Lender scholarship monies to more than 1,500 students. Midwestern lacks profit motives to continue the program--they simply desire to maintain an affordable option to attract graduate students.
* Additionally, the savings from the transition to fully federal funded student lending has been overpromised and any savings will be overspent. Updated Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scores show the initiative is projected to increase deficits rather than decrease our debt. According to CBO, after evaluating the fair value of providing credit assistance to students including the cost of market risk and the present value of future administrative costs, the lending overhaul increases the deficit even more significantly. The House-passed (H.R. 3221) measure promises $77 billion in new spending compared to only $40 billion in savings from the President's proposal. This accounting is necessary to factor all of the risks that loans and loan guarantees impose on taxpayers and the cost of market risk.
* Through the School as Lender program, Midwestern is able to break down cost barriers that keep many low-income students from seeking graduate degrees. I urge my colleagues to rise against this overreach that would prohibit graduate students from access to a valuable scholarship opportunity while further burdening our children with an increase to our record national debt.