This morning, the Senate voted 51 to 50, with Vice-President Cheney casting a tie-breaking vote, to cut $12.7 billion out of the student loan programs. Rather than cutting lender subsidies, the bill takes approximately 70% of its savings from higher loan interest rates for borrowers and redirecting excessive student and parent payments to private lenders. These cuts are not only the largest in the history of the student loan program, but also the largest single cut in the budget reconciliation package. This budget bill will make student and families pay more for their loans so that Congress can direct new tax cuts to some of the wealthiest Americans.BUT:
Before the vote, Senator Conrad used a procedural maneuver to strip two non-germane provisions out of the bill. As a result the newly amended reconciliation bill must return to the House to be approved. Members of the House will now be able to reconsider their votes from early Monday morning, made mere hours after the final bill was introduced. In the coming weeks, students will continue to make the case to Congress that they should stop this raid on student aid.