Daines increases costs for students to give himself a tax break

Walsh focuses on making college more affordable, cutting student loan interest rates

(Helena, MT) – As Senator John Walsh kicks off a college affordability tour across Montana, Congressman Daines must explain his support to drastically increase college costs while giving a tax cut to himself and corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

While Walsh is a strong supporter of cutting debt and spending responsibly, he opposes the unpopular budget Daines recently supported because it protects millionaires and billionaires at the expense of middle-class families.

The Daines’ budget would raise interest rates on student loans up to 8.5 percent leaving graduates with thousands of dollars in additional costs. Montana students graduate with an average of $27,000 in student loan debt.

Daines’ budget would also make massive cuts to Pell grants leaving 1,700 Montana college students without access to affordable student aid. Specifically, the budget cuts Pell grants by $125 billion, taking $8.6 million in aid off the table for low-income college students in Montana.

“Congressman Daines is once again playing typical Washington politics - giving himself and his millionaire friends a tax break and then sticking college students with the bill,” said Bryan Watt, spokesperson for the Montana Democratic Party. “It’s time for Congressman Daines to muster up the courage to do what’s right for Montana families and students.”

Meanwhile, Senator John Walsh has introduced the Federal Loan Refinancing Act, which would allow students to refinance their loans at a fixed rate of 4 percent. The measure would save an average of $8,430 in future student loan payments.


Daines supports $125 Billion Cuts from Pell Grants that Support 9.4 Million Students. The proposed Ryan budget freezes the maximum Pell Grant award at its current level of $5,730 and cuts $125 billion in mandatory funding from the program, which now helps more than 9.4 million students across the country afford college. [House Republican Budget Chairman’s Mark, 4/1/14; CEF, TICAS, 4/1/14; CBPP, 4/1/14Congressional Budget Office11/13/13WH, 4/8/14]

Montana Students Would Lose $8.6 Million in Pell Grants. The budget would cut $8.6 million in funding for Pell Grants in Montana. [House Republican Budget Chairman’s Mark, 4/1/14; CEF, TICAS, 4/1/14; CBPP, 4/1/14; Congressional Budget Office, 11/13/13; WH, 4/8/14]

Reductions Would Impact More Than1,700 Montana College Students. Under the budget, a total of 1,780 Montana students would lose access to Pell Grants. [House Republican Budget Chairman’s Mark, 4/1/14; CEF, TICAS, 4/1/14; CBPP, 4/1/14; Congressional Budget Office, 11/13/13; WH, 4/8/14]

Daines Voted for Plan that Would Raise Student Loan Interest Rates up to 8.5 Percent. In 2013, Daines voted for a bill that would ultimately lead to higher interest rates on certain government student loans. According to the Associated Press: “Using Congressional Budget Office projections, that would translate to a 5 percent interest rate on Stafford loans in 2014, but the rate would climb to 7.7 percent for loans in 2023. Stafford loan rates would be capped at 8.5 percent, while loans for parents and graduate students would have a 10.5 percent ceiling under the GOP proposal.” [AverHR 1911, Vote #183, 5/23/13; Associated Press, 5/16/13]


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