Video archive of the US Congress

Senate Proceeding on Mar 24th, 2010 :: 3:08:20 to 3:15:55
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Tom Harkin

3:08:16 to 3:08:38( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: he deserves great credit for his leadership on this bill as does senator baucus. thank you. the presiding officer: without objection, it is so ordered. mr. baucus: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana is recognized. mr. baucus: mr. president, that's a good introduction of the next speaker, th senator harkin. the presiding officer: the

Tom Harkin

3:08:20 to 3:15:55( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Tom Harkin

Tom Harkin

3:08:39 to 3:08:59( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: senator from iowa's recognized. you're recognized. so you get the floor, senator. you're recognized. mr. harkin: i thank the presiding officer. i want to say to my friend from new mexico, i thank him for his kind words an all that he did to get us to this point as a member of the "help" committee. mr. president, i have a limited amount of time. i wanted to respond to the

Tom Harkin

3:09:00 to 3:09:20( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: motion to recommit made by the senator from tennessee yesterday that would reduce our investment in pell grants and replace them with low student interest rates. well, now, we all want lower student interest rates. i'm -- i'm, quite frankly, surprised. i don't rember my colleague from tennessee or other colleagues on that side of the

Tom Harkin

3:09:21 to 3:09:43( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: aisle raising much contain around here -- cain when the bankers and sally may were charging students over 20% interest. i didn't hear a peep from the other side. we capped all of those interest rates and we're changing that program to a direct loan program to cut the middle man out. by cutting out the middle man, by cutting out the huge

Tom Harkin

3:09:44 to 3:10:04( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: subsidies to the bankers, we're able to save over $61 billion over the next 10 years. $61 billion, which we are using, again, to put into the -- into the pell grant program to help our students. now, mr. president, i said yesterday, and i repeat again,

Tom Harkin

3:10:05 to 3:10:25( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: you think about the present at at itus quo with -- status quo with this loan program. think about how bizarre it ally is. the federal government pays fees to private banks to make entirely risk-free loans using taxpayer dollars. the loans, which are already

Tom Harkin

3:10:26 to 3:10:46( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: guarante government, are then sold back to the federal government. the banks then pocket tens of billions of dollars, taxpayers' dollars in fees and easy profits at absolutely no risk to them whatsoever. this has been going on for far too long. what this bill does is it ends

Tom Harkin

3:10:47 to 3:11:11( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: that, takes all those savings that otherwise would go to sally may and to the bankers and puts it into pell grants. and so, again, while i would agree that our students have too much debt, way too much debt, 73% of four-year college graduates in my state of iowa graduated with a debt that

Tom Harkin

3:11:12 to 3:11:33( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: averaged over $28,000 - over $28,000 -- $28,174. the national average is $23,200 for student graduating from college. my iowa students have the second highest debt loads in the nati. well, we're taking charge of that. three years ago we in the college cost reduction and access act of 2007, we created

Tom Harkin

3:11:34 to 3:11:55( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: the income base repayment program. what that bill said is that a borrower's payment would be capped at 15% of their net income after adjustments were made for living expenses and provided total loan forgiveness after 25 years. and we targeted assistance to those people having the most

Tom Harkin

3:11:56 to 3:12:16( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: difficult time repaying their loans. well, more can be done. now here's what can be done in this bill, we have right now starting in 2014 new borrower's monthly payment will be capped at 10% of their net income. they'll be eligible for total loan forgiveness after 20 years. so this is going to make college

Tom Harkin

3:12:17 to 3:12:37( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: much more affordable for students even after they graduate. now, again, if my friend from tennessee wants to look at ways of reducing interest rates, i'm all for it. you know, one of the biggest ers of credit in college and look what they're being charged under credit cards.

Tom Harkin

3:12:38 to 3:13:01( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: well over 20%. 30% sometimes under credit cards and they nd that for immediate needs. if you're a parent with college, you know what i'm taing about. well, you know, if you really want to help students, how about capping the interest rates that they can charge on credit cards? i've advocated that 20 years

Tom Harkin

3:13:02 to 3:13:22( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: ago, we advocated 12% to 15%, can't charge anymore on this that, i don't hear my friends on the other side to talk about that at all. that would help our students more than just about anything else. so, again, three years ago when we cut the interest rates on student loans, we were criticized by the republicans for not doing enough to increase pell grants. now, we're being criticized for doing too much on pell grants

Tom Harkin

3:13:23 to 3:13:43( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: and not enough on interest rates for students. well, i think you see what this is, just another attempt to try to kill -- to try to kill this reconciliation bill. that's all it is. of course i'm for lower interest rates. who wouldn't be? of course wre sure the interest rates are lower.

Tom Harkin

3:13:44 to 3:14:04( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: so whenhis reconciliation bill is through, mr. president, i intend to come to the floor, some bill probably coming up, maybe a financial bill or something like that, and i will be proposing at that time that we have lower interest rates. and i ask my friend from tennessee to join us in that effort at that time. but now is not the time and this

Tom Harkin

3:14:05 to 3:14:25( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: is not the bill on which to do this. we have to get our reconciliati bill through. and every amendment offered by the republicans is no more than an attempt to stop and kill had reconciliation bill and we can't allow that to happen. so, again, mr. president, education -- we're going to have

Tom Harkin

3:14:26 to 3:14:46( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: an educationill, we're going to have an elementary and secondary education bill i hope sometime this year, higher education act, reconciliations are in this bill. we're going to make sure that students have the money to go to college and pell grants for the lowest income students. and, yes, we have capped the interest rates.

Tom Harkin

3:14:47 to 3:15:07( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: they're capped at 6.8%. could they be lower? i invite my friend when we have another bill up that addresses this, let's see if we can get lower interest rates. i'd be glad twork on that issue at that time. but right now let's put the savings, the $61 billion that we're saving, let's do what this bill does, put it into better

Tom Harkin

3:15:08 to 3:15:29( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: pell grants so the kids can get into college in the first place. and we also put $2.5 billion into something that we have neglected for far too long, and that's our historical black colleges an universities and other -- colleges an universities. so a big chunk of that money

Tom Harkin

3:15:30 to 3:15:50( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: goes in there so they can also get an education. this bill was carefully crafted. let's addrs the issue of the interest rates later on, and i invite my republican friends to join with us in doing that, especially on credit cards when that issue comes up down the pike. mr. president, again, i urge my

Tom Harkin

3:15:51 to 3:15:55( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: colleagues to -- when the vote comes up, to defeat the alexander amendment and keep the

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