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Conrad requests special provision for North Dakota bank be removed from health bill

Updated 7:15 p.m.
By Nick Anderson
Buried in the bill Democrats unveiled Thursday afternoon was a provision related to student loans that appeared aimed at winning support from the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

By late afternoon he made clear, however, that he did not want any special carve-outs for his state.

Democratic aides had told reporters on a conference call Thursday that the Bank of North Dakota, in the home state of Sen. Kent Conrad (D), would be eligible to continue to issue student loans with federal guarantees of repayment on default.

With that sole exception, the measure would eliminate a program to provide federally guaranteed student loans as of of July 1, cutting out financial middlemen and expanding the federal government's direct loan program.

Conrad asked that the provision be removed after it came under scrutiny.

"Often, facts are the first victim in an overly heated partisan environment. And rather than see the excellent reputation of the Bank of North Dakota damaged, I have asked to have the provision removed," he said in a statement.

"We negotiated this in good faith months ago," Conrad was quoted as saying by the newspaper Roll Call. "But it's not worth it. It's not right that it be used to misrepresent this package."

A scan of the bill posted on the House Rules Committee Web site indicates the relevant section pertaining to North Dakota: "SEC. 2213. AGREEMENTS WITH STATE-OWNED BANKS."

By Nick Anderson  |  March 18, 2010; 3:12 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Education , Health Care  
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Another fine example of transparency. The state of North Dakota must be proud of their elected member, Mr Conrad. He got a special deal, most of us private folks would call a bribe. And Mr Conrad, might you be voting yes on the healthcare bill???
Good luck in the next election. You are a day late in getting that bribe erased from the bill.

Posted by: donchew1 | March 18, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Alright, this sausage making is out of control. Dare I say, the Republicans actually have this one right. There are so many giveaways, not to mention so many unintended consequences of this legislation, that Congress needs to start over with a clean slate.

Posted by: Jeff_in_DC | March 18, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

So a "state-owned bank" gets preferred treatment over privately-held institutions solely because of its status as a government-owned institution.

Is this constitutional?

My bet is this one will never survive a legal challenge, and may be reason enough for some members of Congress to vote against health care reform.

Team Obama, perhaps you should re-think this one, stat.



BUCKS COUNTY, PA- BASED MAGLOCLEN FUSION CENTER: "Central command for a Mid-Atlantic States American Gestapo." RE: "U.S. SILENTLY TORTURES..." and "GESTAPO USA" ("stories" list).

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 18, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

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