Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hillary News & Views 8.11: Student Loans, Iran Deal, Reproductive Rights, Trump, Rubio, Biden...

Hillary News & Views returns today after a busy 24 hours that included a full press conference and release of Clinton's ambitious student loan reform package.

Let's delve right into it. Yesterday in New Hampshire, Clinton announced the details of her student loan reform proposals. There is a lot to unpack in what Clinton is calling her New College Compact. Here are some of the key elements, supported by direct Clinton quotes:

No Loans Needed for Public Colleges:
Under my plan, tuition will be affordable for every family. Students should never have to take out a loan to pay for tuition at their state’s public university. We’ll make sure the federal government and the states step up to help pay the cost, so the burden doesn’t fall on families alone.
Expansion of Pell Grants:
Of course, these days, tuition isn’t enough. The cost of living at college has also been creeping up. So under my plan, students who qualify for Pell Grants will be able to use them for living expenses — and middle-class students will get more help to cover their living expenses, too.

Free Community College:
We’re also going to make community college free. That’s President Obama’s plan and we’re making it ours. If students start at a community college and transfer to a four-year school, we’ll make sure their credits count and their transition is seamless. And we want more community colleges to offer two-year degrees and certificate programs that are valued by employers — so students know that, if they do the work, they’re in good shape to get a good job.
Support for Historically Black and Hispanic-Dominant Colleges:
We’re going to work closely with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic-Serving Institutions, because they serve some of America’s brightest students, who need the most support and too often have gotten the least of it.
Support for Parents in College and those who do National Service:
And we’ll make a promise to students who perform national service. If you’re willing to spend years tutoring America’s kids or cleaning up our parks or helping communities hit by disasters, we’ll guarantee that you can attend your public university or college debt-free.
Rate Adjustments and an End to Federal Government Profiting off Student Loans:
We’ll make sure that debt won’t hold anyone back.
For the millions of Americans who already have student debt, my plan will give you the chance to refinance at lower interest rates. If you can refinance your mortgage or your car loan, you should be able to refinance your student loan. It’s just wrong that people are locked into college loans at 8, 9, even 10 percent.
If you do end up taking out a loan — for example, to go to a private college — we’ll cut your interest rates, so the government never makes a profit off your loan.
We’ll make it easier to enroll in income-based repayment programs, so you’ll never have to pay more than 10 percent of what you make — and your debt will only last for a fixed period of time. It won’t hang over your head forever.
We’re going to help borrowers who are in default get back on their feet.
We’re going to make sure colleges and universities have more skin in the game. If they load students up with debt for programs that don’t lead to good-paying jobs, it shouldn’t just be the students and taxpayers left holding the bag. Colleges deserve some of the responsibility, too.
More Details, Including Crackdown on Predatory Lenders:
And we’ll crack down on predatory schools, lenders and bill collectors. If you defraud students, overcharge veterans, or mislead borrowers, we’re going to do everything we can to stop you.
There’s a lot more in my New College Compact — from strengthening the G.I. Bill, so more veterans can get their degree, to making sure that colleges spend federal dollars on things that benefit students, like teaching and research — not marketing campaigns or big salaries for administrators.
And we’re going to do a lot to encourage innovation. Here’s one example. Workers are increasingly rebooting their careers through online programs — yet many students can’t use federal student aid to pay for them. If earning online badges, specializations, or nano-degrees helps people improve their job prospects, we should be making that option easier and more affordable. Under my plan, more students will be allowed to use student aid to pay for high-quality programs. And we’ll make sure that rules about accreditation don’t keep out promising online education companies. We want to keep quality high — without stifling innovation.
She went into more detail on the stump, as the Boston Herald reports:
“Among the lists of things I’d like to see done is de-emphasizing layers upon layers of administration and re-emphasizing teaching,” Clinton told a crowd at Exeter High School this afternoon. “I’ve heard enough stories to believe we could do a better job streamlining the top, saving money and putting money into faculty -- particularly young faculty -- because it’s the young faculty that are being most disadvantaged.”
Her comments about reducing college bureaucracy came after she was questioned directly by a town-hall attendee here.
“It’s time to show some tough love to colleges and universities,” Clinton told the crowd at Exeter High School this afternoon. “Here’s the bottom line: college is supposed to help people achieve their dreams, but more and more, paying for college actually pushes those dreams further and further out of reach. That is a betrayal of what college is supposed to represent.”
Too much else to cover to include widespread reaction to the proposals, but here's what two progressive groups are saying about her plan:
Clinton gave her strongest defense yet of President Obama's Iran deal yesterday. The Los Angeles Times reports:
“The Europeans, the Russians, the Chinese, they’re going to say, ‘We stuck with the Americans. We agreed with the Americans. We hammered out this agreement. I guess their president can’t make foreign policy,’” Clinton said at a campaign stop in Manchester. “That’s a very bad signal to send in a quickly moving and oftentimes dangerous world.”
“When George W. Bush was president the Iranians mastered the nuclear fuel cycle,” she said. “They also build covert facilities and stocked them with centrifuges, and they were spinning away trying to get enough highly enriched uranium to be able to, if they so chose, to move toward a weapon. That’s what we inherited.”
“I’ve gone into this detail because you’re going to hear a lot about it in the weeks ahead,” she told an audience of more than 500 at the foot of a ski slope in New Hampshire’s largest city. “So please, educate yourself.... We have to pursue diplomacy if we expect to be able to solve difficult problems with the rest of the world supporting us.”
“I went to work immediately to persuade China and Russia and other powers to join with us with international sanctions, passed by the U.N. It was really hard to make the case to the Chinese and the Russians, but we did,” she said.
“We have a lot of other challenges posed by Iran. But personally as your future president, I’d rather be dealing with those challenges knowing that we have slowed down and put a lid on their nuclear weapons programs,” she said.
Clinton remained on the offense with Republicans, attacking Marco Rubio by name and reminding voters that Trump may be a sideshow, but he represents his party on policy. CNN reports:
"Yes, I know it makes great TV. I think the guy went way overboard -- offensive, outrageous, pick your adjective," Clinton said of Trump.
"But what Marco Rubio said has as much of an impact in terms of where the Republican Party is today as anybody on that stage, and it is deeply troubling. And it should be to the press, not just to those of us who have been doing this work for so long."
She said Trump's attacks on Fox News host Megyn Kelly, both during the debate and on Twitter and in television interviews afterward, were over the top.
Clinton said Kelly -- "who is perfectly capable and incredibly impressive" -- can defend herself.
But, she said, she worries for women "who may not have the opportunity to defend themselves, who may lose the right to exercise a personal choice if certain of the Republicans were to be successful -- I don't want that forgotten."
The Wall Street Journal reports:
“They brag about slashing women’s health-care funding,” she said of the GOP candidates. “They say they would force women who’ve been raped to carry their rapist’s child. You don’t hear any of them supporting raising the minimum wage, paid leave for new parents, access to quality child care, equal pay for women or anything that will help to give women a chance to get ahead.”
During her New Hampshire tour, Mrs. Clinton said Mr. Trump’s “language may be more colorful and more offensive, but the thinking, the attitude toward women is very much the same.”
Mrs. Clinton called Mr. Rubio’s suggestion that abortion laws should not include exceptions for rape or incest “as offensive and as troubling a comment as you could hear from a major candidate running for the presidency.”
Finally, she also commented on Vice President Joe Biden's potential run for the presidency. MSNBC reports:
Clinton, who called Biden a friend, said she last spoke to the vice president at his son Beau’s funeral. “I think we should all let the vice president be with his family and make whatever decision he believes is right for him. And I will respect that decision,” she said.
For more on Hillary Clinton's campaign for the presidency, check out…  

The Hillary 2016 Platform Series  

Part 1: Criminal Justice Reform  

Part 2: Immigration Reform  

Part 3: Voting Rights  

Unfiltered Hillary: The Transcripts

July 31, 2015: National Urban League

July 20, 2015: Facebook Q&A

July 17, 2015: Iowa State Democratic Party Hall of Fame Dinner

April 23, 2015: Women in the World Summit


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