What: All Issues : Education, Humanities, & the Arts : General Education Funding : HR 2669. (Student loans reconciliation) Motion to begin debating a bill to redirect subsidies given to student loan lenders into financial aid for students/On the motion (2007 senate Roll Call 253)
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HR 2669. (Student loans reconciliation) Motion to begin debating a bill to redirect subsidies given to student loan lenders into financial aid for students/On the motion
senate Roll Call 253     Jul 18, 2007
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

Democrats sought to bring up for debate on the Senate floor a measure that would, in essence, take nearly $19 billion in federal subsidies away from student loan lenders and instead redirect that money into new student loans. However, Republicans repeatedly objected to the procedural motion that allows a bill to be called up on the Senate floor (known as a "motion to proceed"), making opening debate on the bill itself impossible. Much of the Senate's day to day business depends on the unanimous consent of all members of the Senate in order to proceed. This makes it easy for just one person to hold up consideration of a bill, by simply withdrawing their consent for simple motions (such as in this case, where several Republicans objected to the "motion to proceed" to debating the bill). In an effort to force the Senate to begin debating the bill itself, Democrats called a roll call vote on this "motion to proceed," which is normally accomplished with a voice vote.

In addition to redirecting the lender subsidies, the underlying bill also would increase the amount of information universities and lenders are required to provide students about their loans. It also would prohibit lenders from using perks such as student aid assistance in order to convince schools to place them on a "preferred lender" list.

The administration dislikes the bill. When it was considered in the House, the Bush administration threatened a veto. However, when the Senate took up the House bill, the White House expressed concern with the bill, but stopped short of re-issuing its veto threat. The administration dislikes portions of the bill that would establish certain loan caps and forgive loans over time for some public service employees.

The Senate voted, 49-48, to bring debate on the procedural objection to a close and begin debating the bill itself. The vote was split entirely along party lines, with every Republican voting against the motion, and every Democrat voting for it. Thus, debate on whether to take up the student loan bill came to a close, and the Senate proceeded to debate on the student loan bill itself.

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