Student Loan Fight Fuels Local Debate

(WETM-18) – Following the blocking of the Bank on Students Emergency Refinancing Act in the United States Senate, Democrats are firing back against Republicans nationally and locally.

The measure aimed to lower the cost of student loans. In the Senate, it did not have any GOP sponsors and would have been paid for with a tax on the wealthy, something Republicans opposed. Thursday, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick spoke on a conference call with Young Democratic Candidates about the defeat.

“On issues like this is where Democrats pick up votes and where Republicans lose them,” said Myrick during the call. “So I hope the Republicans come around for the good of this country, and until then, all we can say is that we'll be watching”

Thursday, congressional candidate Martha Robertson lashed out at Tom Reed over a vote in the House Wednesday, which she said blocked action on a bill similar to the Senate version in the House.

In a statement, Robertson said, “Voters should watch what Congressman Reed does, not what he says; in this case, after voting to slash funding for Pell grants and reduce the number of students eligible for this much-needed help, and after voting for the Ryan budget that would charge students interest on their loans while they are still in college, Congressman Reed once again voted against making college more affordable for students all over the United States. Congressman Tom Reed continues to vote to protect the interests of millionaires like himself, rather than the hardworking families, seniors, and students of the 23rd Congressional District,” said Robertson. “Congressman Reed’s vote yesterday [Wednesday] against a common-sense proposal to make college more affordable for students will continue to burden young people who can’t gain a foothold in the economy as a result; that’s not the kind of representation we need in Washington.”

But Congressman Reed’s campaign says a student loan bill wasn’t before the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The vote Robertson refers to in her statement is called a “Previous Question”, or a vote to move on with the agenda before the House. The vote cited by the Robertson campaign was on agricultural appropriations.

Congressman Reed’s campaign responded, saying, “Martha Robertson is once again trying to deceive families by using procedural gimmicks to prop up her misleading campaign. Robertson should focus less on sending generic press releases that she receives from Nancy Pelosi’s team and answer questions about real issues and votes,” said Reed campaign spokeswoman Katherine Pudwill.

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