And more pretty good news!

by JC

Also overshadowed by all the hoopla over the health reform legislation was the fact that SAFRA, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, was bundled into the Health bill’s reconciliation package. So Congress actually ran a reform package for student aid through Congress with little or no opposition from the GOP.

What does SAFRA do? Here’s some highlights:

  • kill subsidies for private lenders,
  • expand the federal direct-lending program,
  • and channel the money saved into bolstered Pell grants for low-income students

I guess this is the what happens when the party of Hell No gets all wrapped up in politics and ignores policy. Some actually good policy can move along undercover.


  1. I love how Obama worded it:

    In a recent speech, Obama said the plan scraps “unnecessary taxpayer subsidies that go to financial intermediaries for student loans,”

    From Mark Knoller, NBC White House correspondent.

    I chuckled when i read that.

  2. Nice going, Tom Harkin. Baucus, pay attention. That’s how it’s done.

  3. Lizard

    in the spirit of good news, i got tickets today for a show coming in june, at the wilma: edward sharpe

    if pressed, i’d say they kind of sound like a mix of neil diamond and arcade fire with a perhaps too heavy dose of polyphonic spree, but i love their debut album, and it should be a really good show.

  4. Pilot

    I was surprised when I realized that this measure to reform student loans would be included in the health care measure.

    It was pure pork for bankers. They issued loans with big fees attendant, but the feds insured the loans. The banks couldn’t lose.

    The Republicans didn’t oppose that amendment because they didn’t need to. They wanted the public to think that this was socialism, the commie under the bed, death panels. They were never dealing with reality.

    The Democrats were herding cats, while any “R” Senator who strayed off the reservation were threatened with loss of funding, primary battles. So conservatives such as Grassley, and moderates such as Snowe were told to keep their hands off the bill.

    The worst part of this is that the health care “reform” is largely a bill the Republicans could have written, for the industry, as a result of the compromises and deals the Democrats had to cut with people like Baucus, Lincoln, Landrieu and Nelson, but they can blame the whole thing on the “D”s.

    I was listening to Bill Moyers tonight. He said that there was an early promise made to the pharmaceutical industry in return for their promise not to fight it. The Medicare “Reform” and Prescription Drug “Improvement” Act of 2003, for which Baucus voted and Rehberg cast the deciding House vote, forbade reimportation of U.S.-made drugs. A fix for that mess was avoided by the deal.

    Moyers also said that Bernie Sanders fought like a tiger to successfully get good provisions, for which we all should be extremely grateful. Of course, Bernie isn’t a “D,” but is an “I,” a self-identified socialist.

  5. Big Swede

    Leave it to you to find a piece of corn in this turd.

  6. This was a nice surprise, as Swede says, corn in the turds. It is the politics of smuggling – that is, nothing good comes of party activity, and smart people work around the edges, looking for openings to sneak stuff through. No doubt Harry Reid would have killed this had he not been so concerned about keeping the public option dead.

    In Montana you have a man, Jonathan Motl – I haven’t followed him in years, but he was a smuggler, and a fine one. He’s the man that you should emulate, and not your Grayson or my Kucinich – the former merely seeks out the camera for unsubstantial gestures, the latter folded when the chips were down.

    I tip my hat to smugglers.

  7. klemz

    How is this controversial? They’re collecting 6+ percent interest on loans guaranteed by the government. The default fees are passed along to the lender and separate banks capitalize the loans.

    How do you defend that system?

    • JC

      I never said it was controversial. It passed the House 6 months ago 253-171. But didn’t go anywhere in the Senate (like 290 other pieces of legislation).

      But here is the Heritage Foundation’s alternative take on what to do about the student loan business.

      “To reform and improve student lending, Congress should reduce subsidies to private lenders to create a level playing field between the private sector and the federal government to encourage competition, efficiency, and quality customer service. Moreover, experience has shown that simply increasing higher education subsidies has not solved the problem of college affordability and runaway college costs.”

      Interesting take. If Heritage were to apply this logic to health care, it would make the perfect argument for the public option, using the federal government as a vehicle “to encourage competition, efficiency, and quality customer service”.




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