Responding to private lenders’ lobbying efforts against White House plans for direct federal loans, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Feb. 17 that he trusts the U.S. Senate will pass the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) and “end this boondoggle for banks.”
Five months after the U.S. House of Representatives passed SAFRA, senators have not voted on the bill, while private lending companies have organized town-hall style meetings and aired television ads opposing the bill in several states.
In an afternoon conference call with reporters on Feb. 17, Duncan emphasized that there isn’t a “drop dead date” for passage of the direct lending legislation, and he promised that education officials are “in this for the long haul.”
“The banking industry has had a free ride for too long,” Duncan said. “Now, the banks are lobbying Congress to protect their scheme.”
He continued: “To me, it’s a simple choice: Subsidize banks or invest in children.”