Indiana’s 3rd district representative, Mark Souder, voted no on a student aid bill which passed both bodies of Congress this past Friday. The House voted 292-97 for the student aid and, earlier in the day, the Senate approved the measure 79-12. All the lawmakers who voted against the bill were Republicans. In the House, Democrats Julia Carson, Joe Donnelly, and Pete Visclosky and Republican Steve Buyer voted for the bill.
Voting no were Republicans Dan Burton, Mike Pence and Mark Souder. Democrats Brad Ellsworth and Baron Hill did not vote. President Bush has indicated that he will sign the bill into law, and, if he does, it will take effect October 1, 2007.
The bill will increase the maximum amount of Pell grants, which are awarded to the poorest college students and do not have to be repaid, from $4,310 a year to $5,400 annually by 2012. It also would cut interest rates on federally backed student loans to poor and middle-class students from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent over the next four years.
One aspect of the bill drawing criticism from lenders is the slashing of about $20 billion in government subsidies to the banking industry. By cutting $20 billion in government subsidies to lenders that make student loans, the banking industry argues that legislation will hurt lenders.
Funny, I bet those lenders could care less when subsidies are cut to other business areas, but let it touch the banking industry, and an outcry is heard. You would think that banks, at least the private banks in the student loan business, would be able to recoup any cuts with their usurious interest rates and out-of-line fees charged on credit cards. But perhaps that is too simplistic an explanation.