by Tessa Stuart
As we mentioned yesterday, health care reform passed the House of Representatives with the support of every member of the Bay Area congressional delegation.
Passed along with the health care bill, but overshadowed, was a bill that will reform student loans practices.
The student loan reform, attached to the health care bill during reconciliation, will cut out middleman lenders like Sallie Mae, increasing the share of loans that the government will provide directly to students. The move frees up billions of dollars that were going toward subsidizing those private lenders, who assumed virtually no risk but accumulated all of the interest under the current arrangement.
The bill will also increase the maximum payout for recipients of the Pell grant over the next seven years (from $5,350 this year to $5,975 in 2017), a measure designed to counteract the one-two punch of increased tuition and decreased income triggered by the recession.
An East Bay Congressman helped make it happen. Representative George Miller of California’s 7th district (which includes portions of Contra Costa and Solano counties, including Richmond, Concord, Martinez, Pittsburg, Vallejo, Benicia, and Vacaville), and chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, championed the measure.
In a speech on the House floor, Miller called the budget reconciliation measure “truly historic legislation that addresses two of America’s greatest troubles: the crushing costs and high obstacles of obtaining both quality health care and a college education.”