Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) announced that House and Senate conferees reached an agreement last night on a budget resolution that includes reconciliation instructions that will make it easier for the Senate to pass President Obama's student aid proposals.
The agreement clears the budget resolution for final votes in the House and Senate later this week.
In opening remarks, House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (D-SC) noted that the reconciliation instructions would not prevent the House and Senate education committees from moving legislation under traditional procedures.
"But [reconciliation instructions] would provide fall-back to ensure that these policy initiatives can move through the Congress if negotiations come to an impasse," Spratt said.
In a letter sent to members yesterday, NASFAA President and CEO Dr. Phil Day explained the rational for NASFAA's position on the budget resolution and reconciliation instructions. Day highlighted the multiple assurances given to NASFAA by leaders in the House, Senate and Obama administration that the reconciliation process would not prevent full consideration of alternatives to Obama's proposal to eliminate FFELP. These assurances, combined with the possibility of making Pell Grants a true entitlement program that would be increased annually, convinced NASFAA to "move forward in good faith and help design a system that works best for borrowers, taxpayers and institutions."
"The current administration and Congress are poised to act in support of many of our long-standing priorities to increase access and success in postsecondary education," Day wrote. "We mean to take full advantage of these opportunities on behalf of our students, who are our number one priority. We need to be in a position to strongly advocate on their behalf."
Publication Date: 4/28/2009