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."
March 18, 2010; 3:12 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Education , Health Care
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