Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Endless Deceit: Democratic lawmakers urged congressional budget leader to use outdated estimates of health care bill

From the Washington Post:
The projected cost of President Obama's plan to overhaul the federal student loan program has exploded over the past year, making it almost impossible to include the popular measure in the same deficit-reduction package that would be the vehicle for the final pieces of Obama's health care initiative, Democratic sources said on Wednesday.

In the weak economy, demand for student loans has risen dramatically, driving up the cost of Obama's proposal to expand Pell Grants and provide them to all who qualify. Congressional budget analysts, meanwhile, have told Democratic lawmakers that they are likely to see far less savings from Obama's proposal to diminish the role of private lenders in the guaranteed student loan program because one in five colleges has already abandoned the program in anticipation of the changes.

As a result, rather than saving $50 billion over the next decade, Obama's student loan initiative is now projected to increase deficits by about $5 billion over that period, Democratic sources said, adding that including it in the same package with fixes to the health care bill [which is what Obama is proposing] would wreck efforts to meet the deficit-reduction goals that are required under reconciliation rules.

At a meeting late Tuesday in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), advocates of the student loan program -- one of Obama's top domestic priorities -- urged Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) to simply use the old cost estimate when putting together the reconciliation package. Conrad resisted, according to people familiar with the meeting...
In similar vain, the New York Times reported:
The House bill was projected to save $87 billion over 10 years and would have spent $87 billion on Pell grants and other education initatives. [But Sen.] Reid’s office said a more recent estimate showed the bill would [actually] increase future deficits by about $36 billion...

In a meeting on Tuesday, [Representative George Miller, Democrat of California and chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, who is the leading proponent of the student loan overhaul] and other House Democrats pressed Mr. Conrad to rely on an earlier cost analysis of the House bill that had been prepared by the budget office.
Pray tell, how much more deceit can the American people tolerate?!!!

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