Even before the official rollout of the program at a rally in Denver, House Republicans challenged how the president could move forward without congressional approval.
"The president is about to announce a major change in the program that we have not yet acted on in the Congress,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx (R) of North Carolina, who chaired an oversight hearing on Tuesday. “What authority does the department have?”
“I can’t answer that question,” said witness James Runcie, the Education Department’s federal student aid chief operating officer. “Whatever we’re told to do in terms of implementation and execution, we’ll optimize and do what’s in the best interest of borrowers and students.”
Part of the answer appears to be a move made by the Democrat-controlled Congress in March 2010. It ended taxpayer subsidies to private banks for student loans, meaning that the Education Department alone was responsible for handing out government money for such loans. That means the $60 billion set to go to private banks for student loans during the next 10 years is now tabbed for the Education Department.
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