Congressman Fred Keller votes against Democrats’ higher education giveaway
Washington, D.C. — Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) on Friday voted against the Democrats’ College Affordability Act (CAA) as it went through markup in the House Education and Labor Committee.
The legislation, as introduced by House Democrats, would cost taxpayers at least $300 billion while stifling choice, doubling-down on failed policies, and giving away free higher education to criminals and illegal immigrants.
Egregiously, committee Democrats voted against a measure that would have prevented giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. That means an illegal immigrant wishing to go to college in Texas would be able to receive in-state tuition benefits, but a citizen from Pennsylvania would not.
“Throughout my district, which includes seven colleges and universities, I consistently hear about the need for choice in educational opportunities in order to provide career-ready skills to the next generation of American workers. Yet, the legislation pushed through committee today on a party-line vote is emblematic of a desire to irresponsibly spend other peoples’ money and limit choice in education,” Congressman Keller said. “We need to prioritize the needs of students and job creators, not double-down on a failed one-sized-fits-all approach to education.”
Congressman Keller sponsored two amendments during Tuesday’s markup that would have restored some common sense to the legislation.
The first would have eliminated the 90/10 rule that Democrats tried to change to an 85/15 rule in the CAA. This rule would require for-profit institutions to receive no more than 85 percent of their funding from federal sources.
According to experts, the rule has the potential to disrupt the education of 60,000 veteran-students utilizing G.I. Bill education benefits since the G.I. Bill benefit would be included in the calculation of federal funds.
“Democrats in this bill are willing to potentially exclude 60,000 veterans from using their G.I. Bill benefits just so we can give away free college education. Keep in mind that these numbers only reflect G.I. Bill benefits,” Congressman Keller said. “In addition to affecting the 60,000 veterans utilizing the GI bill, the impact of the 90/10 rule will be devastating to many other students served by proprietary institutions of higher education.”
The second amendment would have strengthened workforce development by allowing third party providers of postsecondary education to partner with more traditional colleges and universities, making their programs eligible to receive federal student aid. The proposal offered by Democrats would shut out these programs from receiving federal student aid.
“During my time travelling across Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District, I have seen tremendous partnerships between private industry and educational institutions that are working together to provide job-ready skills,” Congressman Keller said. “Thanks to our booming economy, our nation has seven million unfilled jobs. We are going to need help from wherever we can get it if we are going to fill them with skilled and competent workers. It makes no sense to turn away entities that are delivering an education that employers will accept and limit the potential of our nation’s workers.”
Both amendments were defeated by Democrats along a party-line vote. The bill was approved along a partisan vote now moves the full House for consideration.