Yesterday, following the NYT report that bank lobbies, led by private lender Sallie Mae, were succeeding in stalling student loan reform, Education Secretary Arne Duncan shot back.
The Washington Post reported on Duncan's blistering retort:
"Working Americans pay while bankers get rich," Duncan said in a prepared statement. "Sallie Mae executives have paid themselves hundreds of millions of dollars in the last decade while teachers, nurses, and scientists -- the backbone of the new economy -- face crushing debt because of runaway college tuition costs."
"We (can) either subsidize banks or invest in students," he said. "The choice couldn't be more clear."
Huffington Post did a follow-up interview and heard more tough talk against the bank lobby.
I think banks have had a sweet deal. They're a powerful lobbying force, and working-class families don't have lobbyists working for them. They're just trying to make ends meet and pay to go to college. And so you have strong, entrenched interests that have lobbied and continue to lobby to this day, and they're running ads in states. And you have, on the flip side, millions of working-class families trying to do the right thing and go to school.
That's the kind of pressure needed to shove the Senate and get the bill that already passed the House onto the President's desk, ending the $80 billion subsidy to the big banks so they can gouge students, instead of using our money to actually make college affordable.
But the White House can't do it alone. We need to speak up.
Click here to tell your Senators to side with students, not the banks and pass student loan reform now.