House Committee on Education and Labor
U.S. House of Representatives

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
Ranking Member

Fiscally responsible reforms for students, workers and retirees.



Floor Statement

May 17, 2007

CONTACT: Steve Forde
(202) 225-4527

McKeon Statement on the Federal Budget and Student Loans

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the second largest tax hike in American history. The agreement before us includes a tax hike of at least $217 billion by fiscal year 2012.  Worse yet, the budget includes a troubling tax hike “trigger” that would automatically raise taxes even higher if surpluses do not materialize due to unrestrained federal spending – a habit I don’t expect congressional Democrats will break anytime soon.

This agreement also includes a reconciliation instruction for the Education and Labor Committee.  I have supported reconciliation as a means to reduce the deficit in the past – in just the last Congress, in fact.  But clearly, deficit reduction is not a priority in this budget.  The fact that our Committee is the only panel with an instruction reflects this. 

Instead, I am afraid this instruction might leave the door open for the Majority to abuse this process in order to give Washington bureaucrats a greater stranglehold on student loans than ever before, through a greater emphasis on the government-run Direct Loan program.  Let me be clear: I stand ready to strengthen federal student aid programs by promoting competition among – and within – the loan programs, while providing additional funds for low-income students to attend college.  This is just what we did through reconciliation in the last Congress.

However, Mr. Speaker, I won’t stand idly by if the Majority attempts to drive a stake through the heart of the market-based loan program.  This would be terrible news for students and taxpayers alike, and I will do all I can to fight against it.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.