What: All Issues : Education, Humanities, & the Arts : General Education Funding : HR 2669. (Student loans reconciliation) Amendment by Nelson of Nebraska that would reduce the bill's proposed subsidy cuts to for-profit lenders/On agreeing to the amendment
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HR 2669. (Student loans reconciliation) Amendment by Nelson of Nebraska that would reduce the bill's proposed subsidy cuts to for-profit lenders/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 256     Jul 19, 2007
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This vote was on an amendment by Ben Nelson, D-Neb., that would restore some cuts made by the underlying bill in federal subsidies paid to for-profit student loan lenders. By contrast, the underlying bill would, in essence, take nearly $19 billion in federal subsidies away from student loan lenders and instead redirect that money into new student loans, among other items related to enabling more students to be able to afford college tuitions.

Nelson's amendment would have the effect of making the underlying bill's proposed cuts for for-profit lenders equal to those proposed for non-profit lenders (though the underlying bill cut subsidies to both entities, for-profit lenders received a much sharper cut than did non-profits). Nelson said it is important to ensure that all lenders, both public and private, have more incentives to approve student loans, rather than less.

"This market-based approach has solidified access for student loans, preserved attentiveness to the needs of borrowers and schools, while providing valuable discounts to middle-class families," Nelson said. "That said, our amendment preserves significant cuts to the student loan industry. However, it does so in a tempered and moderate manner which bridges the desires of Members on the one hand to increase need-based aid for low-income families and on the other hand to avoid increasing loan costs for millions of families."

Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., argued that lending institutions such as Sallie Mae are solvent and will be into the future.

"The debate really is, do we want to do more for students or more for banks?" Kennedy asked. "The economic and financial advisers have indicated that these financial institutions are going to have ample profits. My concern is whether we have done enough in terms of the students, not have we done too little."

By a vote of 35-62, the Senate rejected Nelson's amendment. Most Republicans voted for the amendment, with the exception of 13 who voted no. All but one Democrat cast a no vote: Ben Nelson of Nebraska, the sponsor of the amendment. Thus, the measure went forward without language that would have watered down cuts in the made in the underlying bill in subsidies to for-profit student loan lenders.

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