The House of Representatives approved a $50 billion budget reconciliation bill that includes $14.3 billion in cuts to federal financial programs to students in what Democrats dubbed a "Midnight Raid on Student Aid."
The bill vote, taken on Nov. 18 at 1:20 a.m. EST was narrowly pushed through by the Republicans and passed by a 217 to 215 vote with 200 Democrats, one Independent, and 14 Republicans opposing it.
The bill proposes to raise student loan interest rate caps, taxes on student loans, interest rates on consolidation loans, and reduce subsidies to student lenders. These cuts may deter many individuals from seeking college and continuing a college education.
Representative George Miller (D-CA), senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee has been in the forefront on the battle against the Republican’s budget bill, one of the largest cuts in the history of the student financial aid programs.
“This midnight vote was a disgraceful moment, even by the standards of this leadership that has so much to be ashamed of already. A college education is the key to every American’s dream-," Miller said. "But Republican leaders here in Washington have no vision for the future, and that’s why they pushed for this short-sighted, retrograde bill that undermines America‘s leadership in the world.”
Democrats blamed Republicans for the rise in federal spending and the federal budget deficit and due to their fiscal mismanagement have sacrificed all other important programs for the sake of tax cuts that would benefit wealthy Americans.
Miller said, “College students across the country have been fighting these cuts, and I deeply appreciate their efforts. But their work is not done. We didn’t win this vote, but we have a chance to win the next one and we must win it to help Americans pay for college."