Pelosi Remarks at Press Event with Ranking Member Scott Unveiling Aim Higher Act

Washington, D.C – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Congressman Bobby Scott, the Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, and fellow House Democrats to unveil the Aim Higher Act which is a sweeping reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that reflects a vision for an accessible, affordable higher education system. Below are the Leader’s remarks:

Leader Pelosi.  Thank you very much Mr. Cicilline and thank you for your great leadership as [co-] chair of our Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. We’re all here to honor the work of, continuing the praises of our Ranking Member Bobby Scott.

I’m pleased to be joined by the gentleman from Maryland Mr. [Anthony] Brown, Mr. [David] Cicilline, as was mentioned, Congresswoman [Susan] Davis a person who has been a leader on the Education and Workforce Committee for a long time. And of course our [Education and the Workforce Committee] Ranking Member Bobby Scott, I just left him as he spoke about this to some high school students, to some young people, and this is legislation of great importance to them.

It is stark contrast to what the Republicans have put forth in their PROSPER bill which cuts $15 billion, the Republican bill which cuts $15 billion dollars from financial aid and undermines the bedrock of Pell – and they call it the PROSPER bill. Anytime they name something, you know it’s the opposite.

It decimates loan repayment flexibility and eliminates the public service loan forgiveness – and repeals protections from predatory lenders and institutions. They’re creating a two-tiered education system. One where the wealthiest population gets the opportunities and the others get left behind.

Democrats stand opposed to the Republican efforts and will continue to fight for the people. In a Democratic majority, we will make historic changes to higher education by making student loans more affordable and expanding Pell Grants, we did that already in 2010 when we did the Affordable Care Act and our Education Act in tandem. We’ll update the G.I. Bill for the first time since World War II – apart from the G.I. Bill for the Afghanistan and Iraq Vets.

Increasing access to education by investing in minority serving institutions, HBCUs and community colleges and in order to ensure that debt-free higher education is accessible to everyone but more work needs to be done. Education is the most important investment a family can make in its children and a nation can make in its future. That’s why I am proud to stand with Mr. Scott in unveiling the Aim Higher Act. This strong legislation will invest boldly in America’s students and families now and in the future.

We will continue to press for progress to ensure debt-free, quality and meaningful college education that is within reach for every student. Democrats will continue to fight to put all Americans on the road to success.

We’re doing this within in the context of, for all, For the People. Just a couple of points I want to add – and one of them is nothing brings more money to the treasury than investing in education, so when the Republicans want to cut investments in education, they are not decreasing the deficit, they are adding to it: because nothing brings more money to the treasury than investments in education and as we do this to aim higher. We are also saying, for young people who don’t want to go to college or can’t, there is a path forward, but we want to make sure they have every option available to them.

With that, I am pleased to yield to [Congressman] Anthony Brown from Maryland, a new Member, again, effective from the start. Welcome, Mr. Brown.

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