Rep. Sam Graves’s office released a statement regarding a recent vote of his:
U.S. Congressman Sam Graves (MO-06) today voted to strengthen the nation’s student loan programs. With Graves’ support, the House passed the Smarter Solutions for Students Act (H.R. 1911), which would move all Federal student loans, minus Perkins loans, to a market-based interest rate. This would alleviate the need for Congress to act each year when it comes to determining interest rates. If Congress fails to pass new legislation before July 1, interest rates on subsidized Federal student loans are set to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.
“This commonsense legislation makes it easier for students and their parents to plan for post-secondary education,” said Congressman Graves. “It removes both politicians and politics from the business of student loan interest rates, so that students aren’t penalized if Congress fails to act. This is also the fiscally responsible move, as we will save the Federal government $4 billion with this change.”
The market-based approach to student loans was proposed by President Obama in his Fiscal Year 2014 Budget. However, unlike the President’s plan, the House legislation includes a reasonable cap to protect borrowers against excessive interest rates.
There’s a involuntary gag reflex when I see government programs described as “market based.”
As if tying a government only loan program to the market somehow makes it a good thing.
And it’s still not addressing the root problem: the unConstitutional use of federal monies.
Which reminded me of this (watch yourself, that’s a pdf):
For too long, Congress has ignored the proper limits imposed by the Constitution on the federal government. Further, it has too often drafted unclear and muddled laws, leaving to an unelected judiciary the power to interpret what the law means and by what authority the law stands. This lack of respect for the clear Constitutional limits and authorities has allowed Congress to create ineffective and costly programs that add to the massive deficit year after year. We will require each bill moving through Congress to include a clause citing the specific constitutional authority upon which the bill is justified.
Remember that? When the Tea Party heard about that pledge, a lot of folks were all
And they’re doing it.
So Republicans and Democrats are following the new rule. But has there been any impact on how the House operates? Experts in congressional procedure say the impact is only symbolic.
They agreed that the Republicans have kept their promise, even in judgment-call cases like Pitts’ justification. But the experts added that they didn’t think statements like these are especially meaningful, since the justifications — like many arguments about the Constitution itself — are matters of interpretation.
Here’s how HR 1911 was justified, according to the Congressional Record:
By Mr. KLINE:
H.R. 1911 .
Congress has the power to enact this legislation pursuant to the following:
Article I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United States
And what is Article I, Section 8?
It’s Rep. John Conyers’s famous Good & Welfare clause:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts andExcises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
That’s right. The Republicans are using the General Welfare clause as their excuse.
And, as faithful All American Readers, you know that is a pile of garbage.
I don’t expect Republicans to start repealing everything that’s unConstitutional.
I understand the idea of incremental change. Pass what you can to move the ball towards the goal. I get that.
But this isn’t even incremental change.
This is Republicans using the left’s argument, that the Constitution is a living document, for justification for their legislation.
And the justification isn’t part of the bill. It’s just entered into the Congressional Record.
It has no teeth. They could cite the Seventeenth Amendment as justification, and it would have as much impact.
It’s a just business as usual with a thin veneer of conservatism.
I can see the people who came up with this explaining to Republicans worried about it.
“Hey, wait a minute! We can’t justify half the stuff we do! This will be impossible to do.”
“Don’t worry. It’s meaningless. It just sounds good and the people love it. It won’t change anything.”
Then it dawns on them and they both smile knowingly, and laugh.