Alexander, Stabenow, Shaheen, Heitkamp

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Senator Alexander: (5:28 PM)

  • Spoke on education.
    • "The purpose of our hearing this morning was to find ways to keep the costs of college affordable and to discourage students from borrowing more than they can pay back. Here are five steps the federal government could take to accomplish that. One, stop discouraging colleges from counseling students how much they should borrow. Federal law and regulations actually prevent colleges from requiring financial counseling for students, even those clearly at risk of default who are over-borrowing. In a March 2014 hearing before our committee, we heard from two financial aid directors who said that there was no good reason for this … Second way we can help: help students save money by graduating sooner. For example, our bipartisan Fast Act that Senator Isakson and Burr and I on this side of the aisle and Senator Bennet and Cory booker and Angus King on that side of the aisle have sponsored - the Fast Act would make Pell Grants available year-round to students so they can complete their degrees more quickly and start earning money more rapidly with their increased knowledge and skills. Number three, make it simpler to pay off student loans."

 

Senator Stabenow: (5:48 PM)

  • Spoke on the highway trust fund.
    • "It's ironic that 60 years later my Republican colleagues are the ones blocking us from building on President Eisenhower's legacy for growing the economy by investing in long-term infrastructure. Not 60 days, not 30 days, not six months, but long-term infrastructure investments. Over the last six years Congress has passed short-term extensions over and over again, repeatedly passing over the shortfall in the highway trust fund. And today we are actually at a point where we are 57 days from the highway trust fund actually going empty, shutting down. 57 days before the highway trust fund is empty. This is no way to invest in our country and jobs and the roads and bridges and other infrastructure that we need to support a thriving economy. It makes it harder for states and for local transportation agencies to plan. The uncertainty drives up costs, we all know. The World Economic Forum's global competitiveness report for 2014 to 2015 ranks America 16th in the quality of our roads."

 

Senator Shaheen: (6:06 PM)

  • Spoke on the ex-im bank.
    • "You know, right now about 40% of large businesses export, but only 1% of small and medium sized businesses export in the United States, and yet 95% of markets are outside of America. We need to help businesses like Boyle Energy get into those international markets, and that's exactly what the ex-im bank has done. With the export-import bank's support, Boyle Energy has grown its international sales 75% over the last three years. Before using the export credit insurance that's provided by ex-im bank, the company shipped just to Mexico and Canada, but now Boyle has customers in over a dozen countries. Their exports comprise 60% of the company's $15 million in sales and ten of its 50 employees support their increase in international sales. Without the bank, Boyle energy's success just wouldn't be possible."

 

Senator Heitkamp: (6:13 PM)

  • Spoke on the ex-im bank.
    • "Without the bank, they would be unable to compete in this global marketplace. This is one of those stories in Washington, D.C. that makes the rest of the world believe that Washington doesn't get it. That the United States Congress doesn't get it. Because they don't live in their world. They live in the real world where you have to finance what you have, where those challenges get harder and harder every day, and where you are competing in a market where people do this. 70 export credit agencies in the world, all competing for the same business, all helping their home-grown business to compete for the same business that we're competing for. Unilateral disarmament … So that we actually reauthorize the bank before the end of this month."