If you want an indication of just how radical the Democrats in Congress have become, consider the vote on H.R. 3221. The legislation, which I wrote about yesterday, shuts down all private lenders for higher education student loans, requires that colleges and universities adhere to a new federal bureaucracy, creates a new Green Schools Czar, and hints that any school not complying will see its students denied federal student loans.
Last year, Congress passed the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act (ECASLA). The bill passed in the House 388-21, including 221-0 among Democrats. The Senate passed it by unanimous consent. President Bush signed it. The legislation was a bi-partisan piece of legislation that allowed private sector involvement in student loans without a new federal bureaucracy.
This year, the Republican substitute to HR 3221 would extend ECASLA programs through 2014 and create a commission to develop a new private sector model for student lending. The amendment failed 165-265. 257 Democrats unanimously voted no.
Final passage of HR 3221 was 253-171. 4 Democrats voted no, 6 Republicans vote aye.
The Democrats have now rejected the same legislation they unanimously supported last year in favor of a new, expansive federal bureaucracy.
Moderate Democrats in the Senate need to consider this. The legislation is opposed by many major colleges and universities. Senators Johnson, Nelson, Casey, and Gillibrand are on notice. And hopefully Charlie Crist’s errand boy, George LeMieux, is paying attention.