Student Loans: Allen's Record Speaks Louder Than Empty Rhetoric

Our friends at the Democratic Party of Virginia, sent out a press release today calling out George Allen for his empty rhetoric on education. Check it out below!

April 26, 2012
Contact: Brian Coy, 804-644-1966, brian@vademocrats.org

Student Loans: Allen's record speaks louder than empty rhetoric

Richmond, VA - Today former Senator George Allen released a statement in support of extending the higher education student loan interest rates established under The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 before rates double on June 30th.

Allen's rhetoric rings pretty hollow in light of his record in the U.S. Senate. During his six years there Allen voted for the largest student loan cuts in U.S. history while defending billions in tax giveaways to oil companies and the wealthiest Americans.

Now he and Republicans like Mitt Romney are running on the Cut, Cap and Balance Plan and the Ryan budget that would force deep cuts to student loan programs, federal support for education and key programs for the middle class like Medicare.

"Today George Allen proved that putting words in a press release is one thing, actually standing up for Virginia students is quite another," said Virginia Young Democrats President and William & Mary Senior Isaac Sarver. "Virginians trusted Allen to go the Senate and fight for students, seniors and middle class families, but all they got were six years of taxpayer handouts to oil companies and $3 trillion in new debt.

"Virginia students and our families deserve better than empty rhetoric from a former Senator who let us down when it counted."


2005: Allen Was Critical Vote for Largest Student Loan Cuts in History. Allen voted for the final version of the 2005 budget reconciliation bill, which cut $12.7 billion from college loans, the largest cuts to the student loan program in its history. The measure was approved 50-50, with the Vice President voting to break the tie. [Vote 363, 12/21/05, CQ Floor Votes; AP, 12/19/05; Washington Post, 12/19/05]

  • The Washington Post: "And In One Of The Most Controversial Provisions, The Agreement Would Shave $12.7 Billion Out Of The Federal Student Loan Program." The Washington Post reported, "And in one of the most controversial provisions, the agreement would shave $12.7 billion out of the federal student loan program, in large part by locking in interest rates often at a higher level than the current variable rates. 'This bill is the largest raid on student aid in history. At a time when millions of American families are struggling to keep up with skyrocketing tuition costs, it is shameful for Congress to raid student aid in order to pay for tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans,' said Rep. George Miller (Calif.), the senior Democrat on the House education committee." [Washington Post,12/19/05]

  • AP: "The Student Loan Program Would Endure The Largest Cut In Its History." The AP reported, "As Congress moves to slash $40 billion in spending, no program will take a bigger hit than college loans, where almost $13 billion would be cut over five years. . . . Overall, the student loan program would endure the largest cut in its history, and most of the money would not be pumped back into education." [AP, 12/19/05]

  • 2003: Allen Favored Cutting Off Pell Grant Eligibility For 84,000 Lower-Income Students. Allen, on September 10, 2003, voted against an amendment to prohibit the Education Department from changing the way it determines student aid eligibility for Pell Grants. The change that the department intended to implement would have caused 84,000 college students to lose their eligibility for Pell Grants for the 2004-05 school year. The amendment would prohibit funds in the bill from being used to implement recent Department of Education changes to financial aid eligibility formulas. According to CQ.com, the amendment would also "provide $137.6 billion in discretionary spending in fiscal 2004 for the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education departments and related agencies."The amendment was adopted by a vote of 51-44, with 6 Republicans, 44 Democrats and 1 Independent voting in favor. [Vote 339,9/10/03; CQ Floor Votes, Congressional Quarterly Today, 9/10/03]

  • Budget Officials At Education Department Estimated 84,000 Students Would Have Lost Their Pell Grant Eligibility If Senate Amendment Had Not Passed. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported, "[L]awmakers also approved an amendment that prohibits the Bush administration from changing the formula the federal government uses to calculate a student's need for financial aid. Budget officials at the Education Department have estimated that 84,000 students would lose their eligibility for Pell Grants in the 2004-5 academic year if the change, announced in May, went into effect." [The Chronicle of Higher Education, 9/19/03]

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