House Passes GOP Debt Limit Plan

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Managing Editor

House Republicans on Wednesday passed their debt limit legislation in a party-line vote of 217-215. The bill underwent some last minute changes on Wednesday in order to shore up support among conservative members, but retained its higher education provisions impacting the student loan portfolio and cutting discretionary spending to the fiscal year 2022 level.

Although the bill does not specify agency- or program-level cuts, Republicans have said that their budget proposal would not reduce defense spending. Under that assumption, the White House estimates that lowering fiscal year 2024 topline levels for non-defense funding to fiscal year 2022 levels would result in a roughly 22% cut.

NASFAA President and CEO Justin Draeger said in a statement that cuts to student aid programs "will certainly limit our economy, as doing so annihilates the educational dreams of millions of Americans." 

“By reducing funding to fiscal year 2022 levels and allowing only paltry increases for the next decade, this bill would have dire impacts on students who depend on federal aid. Low- and middle-income families have seen their average income increase only marginally in the last 30 years, according to the College Board, while the cost of college has continued to grow," Draeger said. "Now is the time to double down on funding for need-based student aid, not hamstring the well-targeted programs that expand postsecondary access to students who otherwise may never attend college."

The measure is unlikely to be considered by the Senate, but its passage in the House will likely spur more meaningful conversations between the White House and House Republicans on how to deal with the impending debt limit and the upcoming appropriations season.

Stay tuned to Today’s News for more coverage of the federal budget and appropriations process.


Publication Date: 4/26/2023

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