House Committee on Education and Labor
U.S. House of Representatives

Republicans
Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
Ranking Member

Fiscally responsible reforms for students, workers and retirees.

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Floor Statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2007

CONTACT: Steve Forde
(202) 225-4527

McKeon Statement on the Federal Budget and Student Loans

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the second largest tax hike in American history. The agreement before us includes a tax hike of at least $217 billion by fiscal year 2012.  Worse yet, the budget includes a troubling tax hike “trigger” that would automatically raise taxes even higher if surpluses do not materialize due to unrestrained federal spending – a habit I don’t expect congressional Democrats will break anytime soon.

This agreement also includes a reconciliation instruction for the Education and Labor Committee.  I have supported reconciliation as a means to reduce the deficit in the past – in just the last Congress, in fact.  But clearly, deficit reduction is not a priority in this budget.  The fact that our Committee is the only panel with an instruction reflects this. 

Instead, I am afraid this instruction might leave the door open for the Majority to abuse this process in order to give Washington bureaucrats a greater stranglehold on student loans than ever before, through a greater emphasis on the government-run Direct Loan program.  Let me be clear: I stand ready to strengthen federal student aid programs by promoting competition among – and within – the loan programs, while providing additional funds for low-income students to attend college.  This is just what we did through reconciliation in the last Congress.

However, Mr. Speaker, I won’t stand idly by if the Majority attempts to drive a stake through the heart of the market-based loan program.  This would be terrible news for students and taxpayers alike, and I will do all I can to fight against it.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.

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