Saturday, March 20, 2010
Lincoln and Boozman Say NO to NWA Students
It cannot be the cost of the health insurance reform bill, because the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office report this week shows that the legislation will actually reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion over the next decade. Yet, Senator Blanche Lincoln and Congressman John Boozman, the Tweedledum and Tweedledumber politicians with our vote, both say they will vote NO on the budget reconciliation proposal that requires only a simple majority to pass. It is expected to pass in the House tomorrow and in the Senate next week.
They will also be voting against provisions to reform the student loan program, increase the amount of Pell Grants to low-income students, and fund job training programs at NorthWest Arkansas Community College. First, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act saves $61 billion by instituting direct loans to students instead of letting the banks skim off and charge large fees for processing the funds. Second, it adds $36 billion to Pell Grants at $5,550 per year for tuition. This is a huge impact locally, where NWACC had a 9.6% increase in students receiving Pell Grants last year that averaged only $1,738.
Even more disappointing is that Lincoln and Boozman will be voting against the $2.5 million that Arkansas is guaranteed to receive for job training programs and that NWACC is planning to use for jobs in the health care profession. Working with the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation to prepare competitive grant applications, Arkansas community colleges could receive even more job training funds from the $500 million appropriation.
Why? Boozman will vote NO, because he and the Republicans always vote no on everything. Lincoln will vote no, because she cares more about bank profits than affordable college education and job training. She also thinks she will get the votes of the Teabaggers and other Republicans if she continues to vote with them against health insurance reform. That we are represented by such tools is a shame for which Arkansas voters can only blame themselves.