Posted: 10/27/14 12:08
by Dave Mindeman
You can pretty much say anything in a lit piece. Friends of John Kline prove that....
"When Washington gridlock threatened to let student loan interest rates double, John Kline was the one who wrote the bipartisan law that lowered rates immediately, while also permanently removing politicians and bureaucrats from setting interest rates."
That's what a flyer mailed into the 2nd District said. Yes, the Republican Party of Minnesota said that. And Kline for Congress approves that message.
It is interesting that they use the word "gridlock". Ironic in that Kline has caused more gridlock on education than any Congressperson in Washington. No Child Left Behind still languishes in committee. It has gotten so many state waivers that few people realize it is still the law of the land. It has been Kline's responsibility to fix it - he hasn't.
An then there is that "bipartisan" law on student loans. Kline is hoping you won't remember that the student loan issue was another one of the House Majority's brinksmanship ploys. Student loans were set at 3.4% at the time - an artificial number to be sure, but it was there none-the-less. The Obama administration wanted a permanent fix but were willing to extend that 3.4% another year if no progress was made. Kline kept insisting on a rate that that floated with a Federal interest rate. Since Kline refused to allow extension, Obama's administration compromised on the rates to avoid the 6.8% rate that would occur if nothing was done.
Now, Kline DID write the House bill - but it was changed in the Senate and it was changed in the compromise bill to take out the draconian changes that Kline was putting forward. Because of those changes to the bill, Democrats in the House were grudingly willing to sign on to the bill with the interest rate deadline coming down to the wire.
And yes, the bill did PREVENT the rate from going to 6.8% - in Kline speak that means it was LOWERED, but the interest rate that the student loans are attached to has already gone up - currently sitting at 5.09%. Grad students will be paying 7.64% because they get no Fed subsidies. So, the rate is lower than 6.8% but more than the 3.4% we started with.
And then there is still the problem of For Profit Colleges. These charlatans take more than their fair share of those Federal student loans and in return often get a worthless piece of paper, that gets them no job but with a mountain of debt to pay back. Loan default rates are up to 50% with these For Profit colleges. And the lobbyists that represent them have made John Kline the largest donor recipient of their campaign contributions.
Kline's 2nd District opponent, Mike Obermueller, released a statement on the flyer's bogus claims.....
"While this law is marginally better than Kline's original proposal, which would have doubled student loan interest rates, this law has clearly distracted Congress from the meaningful reform we actually need - reform that Congressman Kline has been actively avoiding since he became chair of the House education committee.
"Students should not be a profit center for the federal government. Allowing obscenely high interest rates, like Kline's bill does, is certainly not the answer to our country's student debt woes.
"We need to be making sure our students have real tools to make college affordable. That means allowing students to refinance their student loans, ensuring interest rates aren't used as a profit making device for the federal government, and making college more affordable on the front end.
"While Kline may have authored a bill regarding student loan interest rates that happened to be signed into law, it takes an artful rewriting of history to paint him as a friend to students. I will always be looking out for our young people's best interests when I represent our district in Congress."
Somebody should be looking out for students - it sure isn't Kline.