Find out more →

Get unlimited access. Become a digital member!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

UPDATE: Tom Cotton explains vote against lower student loan interest rates — it's Obama's fault

Posted By on Thu, Aug 1, 2013 at 3:08 PM

NO TO STUDENT LOAN RELIEF BILL: Tom Cotton.
  • NO TO STUDENT LOAN RELIEF BILL: Tom Cotton.
The House, which can rarely agree on anything, tonight passed 392-31 a compromise deal on student loan interest rates.

Here's the roll call.

The only "no" from Arkansas was U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, heading to a race for U.S. Senate and already standing out as an extremist on multiple issues. He was one of six Republicans in the "no" column.

Republican spin will be interesting. One of the chief Republican paid spinners in Arkansas has already taken to Twitter to comment that the compromise solution is much like one House Republican supported in the first place, but some Democrats opposed for not permanently locking in lower interest rates on loans.

The bill pegs loans to the market. The lower initial rates will forestall cost increases for college students. But some critics wanted to prevent a float upward in future years.

So add a vote against lower college student loan rates to Cotton's record. Along with opposition to food stamp funding. To disaster aid. To sustaining Medicare at current levels. To women's medical rights. To the Violence Against Women Act. To women's full service in the military.

He's not against all free food, however. He's providing free barbecue to attract a crowd to Dardanelle Tuesday night for his senatorial announcement. No word if, to eat, you have to produce proof of legal status, another group Cotton has shown distinct coolness toward.

If I hear back from Cotton's office on the vote, I'll pass it along. House Republicans called the legislation a "win" for students and taxpayers.

UPDATE: Speaking of Cotton extremism, Salon did a rundown of some of the highlights yesterday.

UPDATE II: The Mark Pryor campaign blasted Cotton on his vote.

Yesterday, Rep. Tom Cotton stood firmly against Arkansas students and families, joining just five other House Republicans to oppose a broadly bipartisan student loan compromise that would keep college affordable for thousands of Arkansans. The legislation, which passed by a landslide 392-31 vote and was supported by every other member of Arkansas' congressional delegation, cuts the current interest rate in half using a capped market-based rate that gives students financial stability after graduation. If the compromise had failed, Stafford loan rates would have stayed high and variable, greatly increasing the long-term financial burden of higher education.

"Just like his previous votes to gut Medicare and shelve the Farm Bill, Tom Cotton is once again positioning himself far outside the mainstream of most Arkansans, choosing the side of reckless Washington special interests while ignoring the needs of families in our state,” said Jeff Weaver, Mark Pryor for Senate campaign manager. "Tom Cotton voted against Arkansas students and families.”

About 78,500 Arkansas students rely on Stafford subsidized loans to afford their education. Last year alone, more than $315 million in Stafford loans were used by Arkansas students, most of whom would never have access to higher education if not for the guarantee of affordable and stable loan rates.

And from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee:

“The question Tom Cotton must answer is how did he pay for Harvard? Did he get any assistance to help pay for his education and why does he not think Arkansas families should have the same opportunities he had?” said Justin Barasky, spokesman for the Democratic senatorial Campaign Committee. “Even national Republican operatives have attacked Cotton’s view. This is par for the course for an extreme ideologue like Tom Cotton who has exhibited arrogance and poor judgment ever since he entered Congress five minutes ago. Cotton votes in lock step with Washington special interests and against Arkansas, but still thinks that he deserves a promotion.”

UPDATE III: Cotton's office issued a response to criticism about 3 pm.. Thursday. It's a non-answer. Except for blaming everything on Obamacare.

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Tom Cotton released the following statement after yesterday's vote on student loan interest rate legislation:

“Access to affordable higher education is not a partisan issue, it’s something all Arkansans support; frankly, it's where this debate should be focused. Higher education provided me with opportunities I might not otherwise have had. But I knew it wouldn’t be easy. My family saved for years and I worked throughout school to pay my way; like many students, it also took a combination of private and Stafford loans. Following law school, I postponed joining the Army for two years so I could repay all my loans.

“Unfortunately, too many students today struggle for years to repay their loans because Washington politicians dictate student-loan rates and end up hurting students and taxpayers alike. It’s causing tuition costs to skyrocket, leaving students buried in debt, often without jobs, and forced to delay buying a home and starting a family. As students struggle to repay their loans—regardless of the interest rate—taxpayers are on the hook for a $100 billion bailout—a burden hard-working Arkansans shouldn’t have to bear. A better path is to repeal Obamacare, which nationalized the student-loan business, and let Arkansas’s hometown banks work with students and families to finance higher education, just as they do with homes, farms, businesses, and other loans. I'm committed to bringing affordable higher education to every Arkansan and ending the federal-government monopoly on the student-lending business."

Was Tom Cotton's Stafford loan a government loan? Some Stafford loans are government loans.

UPDATE IV: I'm not a fan of the Washington Post fact-checker. The Arkansas Republican Party loves it, however, judging by frequent citations. So I"m sure they'll be tweeting shortly that the Post has given "four Pinocchios" — whopping huge lie, in other words — to the Cotton theory that Obamacare is driving up the cost of student loans.

UPDATE V: Now an item on the widely followed Huffington Post hits Cotton for his arrogance. Taking a government-backed student loan himself (Stafford loan) while in college but voting against the government program for students today? Hard to defend.

Tags: , , ,

Speaking of...

  • The Gilbert Baker Is a Slimeball Edition

    August 1, 2014
    New political polls, Gilbert Baker and newly released ethics commission investigative files on campaign contributions to Mike Maggio, the hypocrisy of Big River Steel’s John Correnti, the LRPD’s move to encrypt its radio broadcasts, a Little Rock City Board proposal to rollback closing time for private clubs and the Little Rock Planning Commission once again going against professional staff recommendations — all covered on this week's edition. /more/
  • Polling the alcohol question — and the U.S. Senate race

    July 31, 2014
    New polling from the campaign to legalize alcohol sales in all 75 Arkansas counties shows support for the measure and, in an added question, a two-point lead for Mark Pryor in the race for U.S. Senate. /more/
  • Standing invitation to Tom Cotton

    July 30, 2014
    As the campaign teams of incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor and challenger Rep. Tom Cotton continue the tedious election cycle tradition of debating over the format of debates, the Times continues its offer to have Cotton and Pryor join our unedited, free-form weekly podcasts. /more/
  • U.S. appeals court ruling preserves Mississippi's last abortion provider

    July 29, 2014
    A federal court has struck down a Mississippi law aimed at closing the state's only abortion clinic. It comes as a radical anti-choice politician in Arkansas, Tom Cotton, gets an endorsement from anti-abortion groups. /more/
  • Pryor campaign: Cotton fronting for insurance industry

    July 26, 2014
    Pryor campaign response to straw man Obamacare ad is that Tom Cotton is a tool of the insurance industry. Maybe a reporter with an invite to his news conferences could ask him about that. /more/
  • The Mystery of Tom Cotton Edition

    July 25, 2014
    Arkansas Times Senior Editor Max Brantley and Editor Lindsey Millar talk about Tom Cotton and the latest in election news, the fight over public schools and broadband, talk of toll roads along I-40, a legal claim that could keep votes on alcohol and the minimum wage off the ballot and the state Republican Party embracing D.C. politics — all covered on this week's edition. /more/
  • In which Tom Cotton goes Obama bonkers

    July 25, 2014
    U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton is an extreme right-wing Republican. We all knew that. It might even make him electable in Arkansas. But his Obama mania apparently has developed to the point of irrationality. Among others, he seems to blame the president for the downing of a passenger jet over Ukraine on the president. /more/
  • The Pryor-Cotton debate open line

    July 24, 2014
    The open line includes our daily video news roundup as well as the Arkansas Times Weekly Podcast challenge for Senate candidates Tom Cotton and Mark Pryor. So far, no response from Cotton and a tentative positive response from Mark Pryor to our invitation to both men to chat one Friday afternoon — together preferably but also singly — before Nov. 4. /more/
  • Is Tom Cotton too extreme? Too robotic? Or the next big thing in Arkansas politics?

    July 24, 2014
    Tom Cotton has a golden resume, but questions linger about whether his style and politics fit Arkansas. /more/
  • Tom Cotton is perfect — for Arizona

    July 21, 2014
    The Kochs' political group, Americans for Prosperity, loves Tom Cotton. Too bad its blog doesn't seem to konw where he lives. Not that it matters, so long as he votes right. And he does. /more/
  • More »

Comments (27)

Showing 1-27 of 27

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-27 of 27

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Guilty plea in Forest Place arsons

    Lacy Rae Moore has pleaded guilty to two counts of arson, a plea that included starting a fire that destroyed the north building of Forest Place Apartments on University Avenue.
    • Aug 1, 2014
  • An open line, with the floor to Justice Ruth Ginsburg

    The open line includes an interview with Justice Ruth Ginsburg that touches on her tenure, the Hobby Lobby decision and same-sex marriage.
    • Aug 1, 2014
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Missy Irvin pushes nanny state attack on tattoo parlors

    The Senate Public Health committee will need to consider the new Medicaid deal but they spent some time this morning to pass Sen. Irvin's Act to Limit Body Art Procedures, which bans scarification and dermal implants.
    • Feb 27, 2013
  • Mark Pryor knocks Tom Cotton for opposing economic development money

    Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, the Club for Growth's cutout in the race for U.S. Senate, wants to strangle government. Credit him for being open and outfront about that and for forging ahead with his agenda in an election year. It gives Sen. Mark Pryor many opportunities to point out the differences between the two. Today, the focus is economic development.
    • Jun 3, 2014
  • Democrats welcome Tom Cotton to Senate race with unflattering website

    The Democratic Party didn't wait for Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton's free barbecue in Dardanelle Tuesday to welcome him to the U.S. Senate race against incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor.
    • Aug 5, 2013

Event Calendar

« »

August

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31  

Blogroll

 

© 2014 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation