Campaign Updates

November 2, 2015 Press Release

RELEASE: Kelly Ayotte’s “Sweetheart Deal” For Wall Street Comes At The Expense Of NH’s College Students And Families

Conservative American Enterprise Institute Joins Growing Chorus Criticizing Ayotte’s Giveaway to Wall Street

Concord – In Washington’s latest giveaway for Wall Street, Kelly Ayotte is pushing a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” student loan bill that would hurt New Hampshire’s college students and families. Even the conservative American Enterprise Institute think tank agrees Ayotte’s bill is really just a “sweetheart deal” for Wall Street lenders.

Unfortunately, given Ayotte’s record of repeatedly voting to cut Pell Grants, voting against a measure to prevent federal student loan rates from doubling, and opposing a separate measure to make it easier to refinance student loans, it’s hardly surprising that experts say Ayotte’s bill would benefit Wall Street lenders at the expense of students and families.

As Congressman Eric Swalwell of California wrote in an op-ed, “If Senator Ayotte and her colleagues were serious about addressing the student debt crisis, they would be protecting the interests of the 40 million individuals with student loan debt, not the banks.”

“Maggie Hassan has been a leader in working to make college more affordable and reduce the burden of student loan debt, fighting to freeze in-state tuition at the university system for the first time in 25 years and lowering tuition at New Hampshire’s community college,” said Campaign Communications Director Aaron Jacobs. “Meanwhile, Kelly Ayotte is once again putting her corporate special interests before New Hampshire, leading the charge on Washington’s latest giveaway for Wall Street lenders at the expense of New Hampshire’s students and families.”

In an explainer on the harmful effects of Ayotte’s bill, the Center for American Progress (CAP) also notes that her bill would also undermine important consumer benefits and protections for borrowers: “As bad as the legislation would be for taxpayers and borrowers in federal direct loan programs, it also has the potential to harm borrowers who take advantage of the refinancing option. In order to take advantage of refinancing under the proposed legislation, borrowers would have to give up important benefits that are assured under the federal student loan programs.“

CAP added, “These would undoubtedly include the ability to repay a loan through an income-contingent repayment plan, as well as the right to have any outstanding balance on a student loan cancelled after 10 years of public service with a nonprofit organization or government agency or after 20 years or 25 years generally.”

BACKGROUND

IN MAY 2015, AYOTTE VOTED FOR THE FY 2016 REPUBLICAN BUDGET RESOLUTION THAT CUT PELL GRANT FUNDING BY NEARLY $90 BILLION

Ayotte Voted For Final FY 2016 Budget Resolution. [CQ, 5/5/15; S. Con. Res. 11, Vote 171, 5/5/15]

  • Budget Would Cut Pell Grants By Nearly $90 Billion Over Ten Years. According to the Senate Budget Committee, “the Republican budget would further cut Pell grants by nearly $90 billion over ten years.” [Senate Budget Committee, 4/9/14]

AYOTTE JOINED ALL REPUBLICANS IN VOTING AGAINST REMOVING THE NEARLY $90 BILLION CUT FROM THE BUDGET

Ayotte Voted With All Republicans Against Restoring Funding To Pell Grant Program.[S.Amdt. 828 to S.Con.Res. 11, Vote 101, 3/26/15]

  • Franken Introduced Amendment To Senate Budget Resolution That Would Have Stopped The Proposed Cut Of Nearly $90 Billion To Pell Grants. [Minneapolis Star Tribune, Hot Dish Politics, 3/27/15]

AYOTTE HAS ALSO VOTED FOUR OTHER TIMES TO CUT PELL GRANT FUNDING SINCE JOINING THE SENATE

Ayotte Has Voted Four Other Times To Cut Pell Grant Funding. [Vote 36, 3/9/11; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/1/11; Vote 46, 3/21/13; Inside Higher Ed, 3/13/13; Vote 98, 5/16/12; Office of Management and Budget, Blog, 3/21/12; Vote 77, 5/25/11; House Committee on Education and Labor, Press Release, 4/14/11]

IN 2012, AYOTTE WAS THE ONLY MEMBER OF THE NEW HAMPSHIRE CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TO VOTE AGAINST PREVENTING INTEREST RATES ON FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS FROM DOUBLING

Ayotte Voted Against Extending The 3.4 Percent Interest Rate On Subsidized Federal Student Loans Through July 1, 2013. [Vote 172, 6/29/12]

  • Ayotte Was the Only Member Of The New Hampshire Congressional Delegation To Vote Against Preventing Federal Student Loan Interest Rates From Doubling. In June 2012, the Union leader reported that “While Democrat Shaheen and the state’s two Republican House members, Frank Guinta and Charles Bass, voted for the bill, Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte was one of only 19 senators to oppose it. The House vote was 373-52, while the Senate passed it, 74-19… Packaged with the transportation bill was a provision preventing a doubling to 6.8 percent of Stafford student loan interest rates for 7 million college undergraduates.” [Union Leader, 6/30/12]
  • Ayotte Was One Of Only 19 Senators To Vote Against Final Passage Of Bill To Prevent Federal Student Loan Interest Rates From Doubling. In June 2012, the Union leader reported that “While Democrat Shaheen and the state’s two Republican House members, Frank Guinta and Charles Bass, voted for the bill, Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte was one of only 19 senators to oppose it. The House vote was 373-52, while the Senate passed it, 74-19…Packaged with the transportation bill was a provision preventing a doubling to 6.8 percent of Stafford student loan interest rates for 7 million college undergraduates.” [Union Leader, 6/30/12]

IN 2015, AYOTTE HAS VOTED TWICE AGAINST ALLOWING BORROWERS TO REFINANCE STUDENT LOANS AT LOWER INTEREST RATES

Ayotte Voted Against Allowing Federal Student Loan Borrowers To Refinance Outstanding Loans At 2013-2014 Interest Rate. [Vote 149, 4/15/15; Vote 86, 3/25/15]