GOP Senate Candidates Too Extreme--Even for Mitt Romney--on Affordable Student Loans
Akin, Steelman, Brunner Side With Big Banks Over Students, Middle Class Families
Jefferson City, MO. -- While Todd Akin, Sarah Steelman and John Brunner continue to stand with big banks over Missouri students by rejecting federal efforts keep student loan rates affordable, Mitt Romney yesterday announced his support for a common-sense plan, highlighting just how extreme the Missouri GOP Senate candidates are on issues that matter to middle class families.
“Mitt Romney has branded himself ‘severely conservative,’ but even he can’t come close to touching the extreme conservatism of Todd Akin, Sarah Steelman and John Brunner’s plan to reward big banks and saddle Missouri students with more expensive loans,” said Caitlin Legacki, Missouri Democratic Party spokeswoman. “As Akin, Steelman and Brunner compete to be the most radical conservative in the race, they're showing once again their willingness to throw middle class Missourians under the bus.”
Yesterday, Romney endorsed the Democratic plan to prevent interest rates on subsidized Stafford student loans from doubling this summer on July 1 for nearly 7.5 million students. If Congress does not act before July 1, that interest rate will double.
But at Saturday’s Missouri Senate Debate, when asked directly whether they would support efforts to prevent a doubling in federal student loan rates, all three refused to commit to such action. The three candidates opted instead to highlight their support for reinstalling banks as for-profit middlemen in the federal student loan system - a move that would sap resources currently available to families while providing bigger profits for big banks.
Akin compared student loans to Stage III cancer: "America has got the equivalent of the Stage III cancer of socialism because the federal government is tampering in all kinds of stuff it has no business tampering in. So, first to answer your question precisely. What the democrats did to get rid of the private student loans and take it all over by the government was wrong. It was a lousy bill. That's why I voted no. The government needs to get its nose out of the education business."
Steelman said she'd "have to look at the proposal," then advocated for privatizing student loans: "I think we need more competition in the student loan area. Yeah. Before that it went through banks but those loans were guaranteed by the federal government. Again, just like as an economist you need competition and competition produces different pressure on those loan rates to be lower."
Brunner failed to say how he would vote on efforts in Congress to keep student loan rates affordable, but like Akin and Steelman, advocated for the privatization of student loans: "In the same way, when you get the banks involved and free enterprise involved and other opportunities involved and other businesses involved, the number one issue we're facing here in Missouri is finding enough educated people to be able to handle some of these new high tech jobs that are coming in to Missouri. So, the problem we have on these school loans is very difficult. We need to take a fresh look on this whole approach in order that the kids getting out of college don't end up with such a debt load that they're working another 10, 15, or 20 years dealing with the debt."