From: Al Franken Date: March 30, 2010 3:07:24 PM MDT To: Jason Williams Subject:The OTHER really important new law Reply-To:firstname.lastname@example.org
Passing health reform was an amazing accomplishment. The reconciliation bill President Obama just signed made a good bill even better, but today I want to talk about another new law that's been overshadowed a bit by health reform.
Today Franni and I were honored to be there in person to watch the President sign sweeping federal student aid reform into law. We just cut out the big bank middlemen for federal student loans. Now aid to help kids afford college will come directly from the government.
This is a very, very good thing for students across the country. For the past 40 years under the old system, the federal government paid banks massive subsidies to get them to lend to students. On top of that, the government guaranteed the loans -- so there was no risk for banks, just loads of taxpayer-subsidized profits.
This was corporate welfare masquerading as private enterprise, and we just put a stop to it. For Minnesota students who already have direct lending from the U of M, we shored up Pell Grants for those at risk of having them cut by as much as 60%, or of losing them altogether.
For Franni and me, this issue is personal. She and her three sisters were all able to attend college on a combination of scholarships and Pell Grants after their mother was widowed when Franni was just a baby. So we know the power of America's middle class comes from being able to provide a bright future for kids, and that means a college education.
I came to Washington to fight for those who haven't had a voice on issues just like this one. Health reform is a great thing, but it's not the only bill that was signed into law today that will markedly improve the lives of our constituents and strengthen our middle class.
Thank you so much for reading. Today, America's students got a leg up - that's something we can all take a moment to celebrate. We've got more to do on this issue, and thanks to your steadfast support we're off to a running start.