Latham, King vote against student loan reform

The House of Representatives passed the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act on Thursday on a mostly party-line vote of 253 to 171 (roll call here). Iowa Democrats Bruce Braley, Dave Loebsack and Leonard Boswell all voted for the bill, while Republicans Tom Latham and Steve King voted against it.

Click here to download a pdf file containing the House Education and Labor Committee’s estimates on how many students in each Congressional district will be able to receive Pell Grants during the 2010/2011 academic year under this reform. The estimate is 16,355 students in Iowa’s fourth district (Latham) and 16,301 students in Iowa’s fifth district (King).

Overall, just four Democrats voted against the bill: Allen Boyd (FL-02), Paul Kanjorski (PA-11), Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (SD-AL), and Mike McMahon (NY-13). Six Republicans voted for the bill: Vern Buchanan (FL-13), Joseph Cao (LA-02), Timothy Johnson (IL-15), Tom Petri (WI-06), Todd Platts (PA-19), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18). At Congress Matters, David Waldman posted details about the amendments proposed to this bill and which ones passed yesterday.

A press release from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee included these bullet points about the bill:

*The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act is the largest single federal investment in higher education in American history and will also be used to pay down the national debt (H.R. 3221, #719, 9/17/09)

*The measure will make federal student lending more efficient through a variety of reforms that will save the federal government $87 billion. Of those savings, $77 billion will be invested toward making college more affordable and $10 billion will be used to pay down the national debt.

*These savings will be achieved through a number of reforms including:

*Converting federal lending to the Direct Loan Program.

*Establishing a competitive bidding process, allowing the U.S. Department of Education to select lenders based on how well they serve borrowers.

*Allowing non-profit organizations to continue servicing student loans.

*This measure will increase the amount of Pell Grants in 2010 and 2011, lower the interest rates of federally subsidized student loans, expand the Perkins Loan program, and streamline the application form for financial aid.

Senate HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin is committed to passing student loan reforms this year.

UPDATE: Like Latham and King, all the House Republicans from Kentucky voted against this bill, and I agree with RDemocrat’s assessment at the Hillbilly Report:

I think this once again properly demonstrates the hypocrisy of Kentucky Republicans and the Republican Party as a whole. They constantly lecture us on spending, but they care little about money being wasted as long as it is being wasted on corporate welfare. When presented with a chance to both save money, and help working poor children afford college, they would rather waste that $80 billion.

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