[Guest post by DRJ]
The AP reports House Democrats may pass health care reform next week following agreements today that call for more federal spending on student loans:
“Under White House pressure to act swiftly, House and Senate Democratic leaders reached for agreement Friday on President Barack Obama’s health care bill, sweetened suddenly by fresh billions for student aid and a sense that breakthroughs are at hand.
“It won’t be long,” before lawmakers vote, predicted Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She said neither liberals’ disappointment over the lack of a government health care option nor a traditional mistrust of the Senate would prevent passage in the House.
The decision to add far-reaching student aid changes to the bill had its roots in obscure parliamentary rules governing the Senate’s debate of the legislation. But House Democrats and the White House quickly seized on it as a way to advance a top administration priority that lacks the 60 votes needed to clear the Senate otherwise.
The measure would require the government to originate student loans, closing out a role for banks and other private lenders who charge a fee. Obama proposed taking the savings and plowing it into higher Pell Grants that go to needy college students.
Officials said that under current estimates, the change would free as much as $66 billion over a decade, although Pelosi indicated she wanted it spread beyond Pell Grants to other education programs.”
Increased student loan spending added to a health care bill gave Republicans another reason to oppose Democratic-backed legislation:
“Well of course it’s a very bad idea,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “We now have the government running banks, insurance companies, car companies, and they do want to take over the student loan business.”
He said it was symptomatic of Democrats’ determination to have the government expand its tentacles into absolutely everything.”
Only liberals could believe more federal spending will get people to agree to more federal spending, but the really big news is Rep. Bart Stupak’s belief that Democrats want federal funding for abortion because they know the government can’t afford to pay for more health care:
“Stupak notes that his negotiations with House Democratic leaders in recent days have been revealing. “I really believe that the Democratic leadership is simply unwilling to change its stance,” he says. “Their position says that women, especially those without means available, should have their abortions covered.” The arguments they have made to him in recent deliberations, he adds, “are a pretty sad commentary on the state of the Democratic party.”
What are Democratic leaders saying? “If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more. That’s one of the arguments I’ve been hearing,” Stupak says. “Money is their hang-up. Is this how we now value life in America? If money is the issue — come on, we can find room in the budget. This is life we’re talking about.”
Margaret Sanger (and others) would be pleased.
H/T Drudge Report.