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Bill Cassidy’s Government Shutdown Would Harm Louisiana Students

Bill Cassidy’s Government Shutdown Would Harm Louisiana Students

Recklessness & Irresponsibility: Cassidy Threatening To Shut Down Government

Bill Cassidy’s recklessness and irresponsibility was on display last week when he was one of 80 House members who signed a letter urging Speaker Boehner and Eric Cantor to shut down the government despite the devastating consequences it would have for Louisiana students.

Last week, Cassidy actually told an audience in Louisiana that he wouldn’t support shutting down the government, but he immediately changed course when it was revealed that in 2007 Cassidy pushed for state run health care exchanges, similar to those in the Affordable Care Act.

In 2011 more than 7,800 Louisiana students earned more than $13.3 million by enrolling in federal work study programs, and another 4,600 students received more than $11.7 million in federal Perkins loans. If Bill Cassidy has his way and shuts down the government, colleges and universities across Louisiana would not be able to disburse funds to students in either of these programs.

Cassidy’s shutdown plan has been ripped by numerous Republican Senators, including John McCain.

“Bill Cassidy’s plan to shut down the government would have devastating consequences for more than 7,800 Louisiana students who rely on work-study programs or the more than 4,600 who receive federal Perkins loans to help pay for school. Cassidy’s plan displays the recklessness and irresponsibility of an ideologue who bows to special interests in Washington and puts partisan politics ahead of Louisiana families,” said Justin Barasky, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “Republican Senators have slammed Cassidy’s position, which would deny students much needed help to pay for school. Louisiana students need leaders who are standing up for them in Washington, not self-serving politicians like Bill Cassidy who care scoring political points with the right instead of fighting for Louisiana.”

During the congressional recess the DSCC is highlighting the many ways in which Bill Cassidy’s government shutdown plan would harm Louisiana and the country, starting yesterday with seniors who rely on Social Security.

Recent polling shows Mary Landrieu leading Bill Cassidy by double digits.

BACKGROUND:

Bill Cassisy’s Shutdown Will Harm Students: “Colleges and universities would not be able to draw down and disburse to students any campus-based program awards, such as work-study or the Federal Perkins Loan Program. The impact on the $951 million work-study program would affect about 590,000 students in approximately 3,400 participating institutions. Perkins affects about 673,000 students in some 1,600 participating institutions.” [Center for American Progress, 4/11]

  • In 2011, 7,836 Louisiana students earned $13,312,266 through the Federal Work-Study program, an average of $1,699 per student. [ED Data Book 2013]
  • In 2011, 4,615 Louisiana students received $11,721,749 through the Federal Perkins Loan program, an average of $2,540 per student. [ED Data Book 2013]

8/21/13: Cassidy Told Louisiana Audience That He Would Not Support Shutting Down The Government In Order To Defund Health Insurance Reform. The Associated Press reported on Cassidy speaking to a local homebuilders association: “U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy split with some hard-line members of the GOP on Wednesday, saying he wouldn't support a federal government shutdown as a way to defund President Barack Obama's health care law if the move would stop defense spending.” [Centre Daily, 8/21/13]

8/21/13: Cassidy Was One Of 80 House Republicans Who Signed Letter Calling For Government Shutdown Unless Health Insurance Reform Funding Was Cut After Push From Heritage Foundation. The Hill reported, “A growing group of congressional Republicans is pushing leaders to defund ObamaCare in the next government spending bill, setting the stage for a showdown in September, when the current continuing resolution expires.” The report noted that a letter from Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) was gaining steam in the House Republican conference that called on Boehner and Cantor “not to allow votes on a government funding bill unless it chokes off money for the Affordable Care Act.” Roll Call reported, “Heritage Action for America has a message for 100 House Republicans: You want to sign freshman Rep. Mark Meadows’ letter…The full text of the letter and final list of co-signers won’t be made public until Thursday, Meadows’ office told CQ Roll Call. But when it is sent to House Republican leaders, it will demand that they “take the steps necessary to defund Obamacare in its entirety, including on a year-end funding bill like a continuing resolution.” The letter which was signed by Cassidy and 79 other House members said, “we urge you to affirmatively de-fund the implementation and enforcement of ObamaCare in any relevant appropriations bill brought to the House floor in the 113th Congress, including any continuing appropriations bill.” [The Hill, 7/25/13; Roll Call, 8/20/13; Meadows Letter to Boehner & Cantor, 8/21/13]

2007: Cassidy Proposed Louisiana “Create a Statewide Health Insurance Exchange” During State Senate Campaign. During his campaign for the State Senate, Cassidy proposed that Louisiana “create a statewide Health Insurance Exchange to lower insurance premiums, decrease administrative costs and allow flexibility in which benefits workers choose.” [Cassidy for State Senate, Website Archive, 2007]