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16 September 2008

Broun & Price Vote Against Safeguarding Student Loans [Updated]

Yesterday, the United States House of Representatives voted to extend for one year certain provisions of the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act of 2008 (H.R. 5715), which were due to expire on July 1, 2009.

The legislation, H.R. 6889, specifically extends a provision that provides the U.S. Secretary of Education with the additional tools needed to safeguard federal student loans by purchasing loans from lenders in the federal student loan programs in the event that those lenders were unable to access the capital needed to finance their lending activity. Like the original legislation, which was signed into law by President Bush in May, this bill carries no new cost for taxpayers.

H.R. 6889 had support from members of both parties including the chairman and ranking Republican member of the House Education and Labor Committee.

"Our rough economy is already dealing a huge blow to American families and we can’t allow trouble in the credit markets to further price students out of a college degree," said U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. "With market turbulence showing no signs of letting up, it’s only prudent to make sure that students have every assurance that the federal student loans they need will be there next year."

"Congress is continuing to monitor the credit markets closely, and remains committed to do what is necessary to ensure students and families have access to the funds they need to pay for college," said Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), the Education and Labor Committee’s senior Republican. "This measure offers a degree of certainty for the coming school year, and will help stabilize the student loan marketplace as we continue to explore what other steps are needed to ensure long-term financial aid access."

Despite the bill's bipartisan support, two Georgia Republicans still voted against the legislation on the House floor yesterday.

Georgia Congressmen Paul Broun and Tom Price provided two of the four "No" votes against the bill [Source: House Roll Call #591].

The remaining 11 members of Georgia's congressional delegation voted in favor of H.R.6889.

[UPDATE]: Congressman John Lewis (D - Georgia) released the following statement on the passage of H.R.6889:

"In this time of financial crisis, it is important that the federal government do what it can to make sure the opportunity to get a college education does not plummet with the prices of stocks. We have seen the American dream of home ownership crumble before our eyes. We must not let another cornerstone of our society give way as well. As a nation and as a people, we have said that we are committed to equal access to educational opportunity, and we do not want cost alone to stand in the way of academic achievement. That is why it is important that the government act on the values of the people to preserve the freedoms they hold dear. That is why I voted to support the safeguarding of student loans to help keep the doors to higher education open, regardless of the economic difficulties we face as a nation."