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Jul 12

WASHINGTON, July 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Speaker Nancy Pelosi
spoke on the House floor this afternoon supporting the College Cost
Reduction Act of 2007. Below are her remarks:
“I thank the gentleman for yielding. I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for
your great leadership in bringing us to this historic day.
“I rise today in strong support of the College Cost Reduction Act of
2007.
“In 1944, when the GI Bill of Rights became law, our nation made a
decision to invest in the future. It was an investment that transformed the
lives of millions of Americans. They, in turn, transformed America to the
benefit of all Americans; indeed they built America.
“Over the years, the GI Bill has offered opportunity and economic
security through education to more than 20 million of the brave men and
women who wore our nation’s uniform. It has given America hundreds of
thousands of engineers, teachers, and doctors. And it has given us a model
for the value in investing in the education of our people for our country.
“Today, with this legislation, we will make the single largest increase
in college aid since the GI Bill of Rights revolutionized America.
“It is an investment to a bright future for our children, just as the
GI Bill had been an investment in a bright future for our nation. Any
economist will tell you that any dollar spent on education is a dollar that
makes a big return to our Treasury. In fact, no dollar invested or spent,
no tax credit, no financial initiative you can name brings more money to
the Treasury than investing in education.
“In today’s competitive job market, a college education often makes all
the difference. Americans with college degrees can earn 60 percent more
than those with only high school diplomas. So in the interest of
individuals, this is very important.
“Indeed, higher education is the single best investment our young
people can make in themselves, their families can make in them, and our
country can make in our future.
“Financial barriers will prevent 4.4 million high school graduates from
attending a four-year public college over the next decade, and prevent
another 2 million high school graduates from attending any college at all.
“Cutting interest rates in half will make it possible for more
Americans to achieve their economic potential. And this is especially
important for strengthening the middle class. By increasing the maximum
Pell Grant scholarship by $500, nearly 6 million students will be given
help to afford the expanding cost of college.
“The cost of this bill is the equivalent of six weeks in Iraq. Six
weeks in Iraq. Imagine that. For six weeks in Iraq, we can expand higher
education to all who wish to achieve it in America. That investment has a
return to our Treasury, to grow our economy, to prepare us for the future.
“This legislation is an important part of our innovation agenda, where
we invest in many more scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. And by
giving opportunities to highly qualified teachers in our classrooms for
this
innovation agenda, this provides an essential component for a bright
future for our nation.
“We will provide upfront tuition for highly qualified teachers who
agree to teach in high-needs areas. We will increase loan forgiveness for
those who practice civic responsibility, encouraging students to give back
to their communities as teachers, librarians, child welfare workers, and
public sector employees.
“Today, we are not only relieving the debt of America’s students, but
doing so in a way that does not heap mountains of national debt on top of
our young people. The legislation keeps our promise to pay-as-you-go, with
no new deficit spending. Democrats believe that is just as essential as
ensuring America’s students have the opportunity to attend college.
“The College Cost Reduction Act strengthens the future of our students,
and it strengthens our nation. I think that this is an historic day, Mr.
Chairman and my colleagues, because it is a day about the American dream.
It’s a day about expanding our opportunity in our country. It is a day that
recognizes that the best dollar that we can spend is a dollar spent on
education. And it recognizes that education is a key to a brilliant future,
not only for the self-fulfillment of our people, but for the success of our
country.
“Thank you, Mr. Miller and members of the committee for helping us
honor that commitment to future generations. I urge our colleagues to
support this important and historic legislation.”

SOURCE Office of the Speaker of the House

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