SIDENOTE : It was one year ago today, that John Kline and the House Republicans shutdown the government (just watch the video as he explains why). It lasted for sixteen days. This is part of a series.
Chairman Kline had planned to start the new fiscal year with a hearing
“Keeping College Within Reach: Simplifying Federal Student Aid”
Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
But it had to be cancelled … that’s what a government shutdown does … from planned consideration of a timely issue to chaos … although some may say they could not see the difference … unless you were one of the witnesses that were to testify at the hearing.
Chairman Kline eventually held the hearing … on November 13th … roughly six weeks later.
At that hearing, Chairman Kline congratulated himself “I’d like to note that I am proud of the work we did earlier this year to revamp federal student loans. Though it was a difficult battle”
Chairman Kline added that the eventual solution “has resulted in lower interest rates for millions of loan borrowers.”
It’s a rather interesting assessment of “success” …
The Kline Solution for “success” … take the established program that had a 3.4% interest rate and “reforming” it to align with the US Treasury market plus a “fee” to cover administrative costs and losses from defaults and write-offs. President Obama agreed with this concept (with some other provisions to help students) and suggested a 0.91% adder — just a little bit higher than banks borrow money at. However, Chairman Kline wanted a 2.5% fee … he wanted to ask students to pay down the national debt. After a summer of concessions by Democrats, Chairman Kline finally agreed to a 2.05 % fee. Chairman Kline has made student loans a profit-making machine for the US Treasury. Chairman John Kline is responsible for increased student loan interest rates as it was 3.4% before his “reform” to the current rate of 4.66% (WARNING : CBO expects 7.7% by 2018.)
John Kline has rode his “successful” “reform” of the student loan program to national attention such that there will be a panel discussion at the Grand Event Center in Northfield
(Tuesday, October 7 at 6PM) featuring: Matt Taibbi (the author of Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal), Katie Keifer (the author of “Let Me Be Clear: Barack Obama’s War on Millennials”), Steve Sviggum, (University of Minnesota professor and former Speaker of the MN House of Representatives), John Rouleau (Executive Director of the Minnesota Jobs Coalition), Bill Maher (the creator of the #FlipADistrict challenge that John Kline earned the most votes), and others. Bill Maher explained why John Kline won — “He has been the champion of higher student loan rates; they’re upset about that, for good reason.”
Student loan debt has become an actual topic this campaign season — and, it’s about time.
In May, it was announced that student debt had reached $1.2 Trillion. It has been reported that 550,000 Minnesotans ( 1 in 8 ) have had student debt.
Student debt is an important issue … as are other programs.
John Kline has stated his intent to reform other programs … such as Medicare and Social Security. John Kline is interested in increasing the retirement age and when asked by MPR whether it’s appropriate to push for such complex changes prior to the shutdown, Chairman Kline said, “Yes.”
And that is the lesson of the GOP shutdown.
John Kline did it one year ago … and the House Republicans are passing funding bills that will expire in May 2015 … after the new Congress is in place and with enough time before the 2016 elections will be discussed … the tactic will once again be to threaten another shutdown … and John Kline has proven that he will support this tactic.
Remember John Kline’s words when you go into the ballot box :
“We had a tactic, we said, ‘Okay, we’re going to let the government shutdown.’ . . . so we let the government shut down …