Now that the taboo against the use of reconciliation to pass legislation has been broken, will a student loan bill be next to take the path of least resistance through the Congress? "Most people know the final health care battle will play out in the Senate budget reconciliation process, but there's another key Obama administration goal whose fate depends on the arcane process: student loan reform. In September, the House passed the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA), a bill that would kill subsidies for private lenders, expand the federal direct lending program, and channel the money saved into bolstered Pell grants for low-income students. Because further delay could doom SAFRA, its success will likely require bundling it with health care and passing it through reconciliation -- and that might not be easy.
What will it take, and why does it matter? The Prospect talked to Pedro de la Torre III, advocacy senior associate and higher education expert with Campus Progress, about SAFRA and the fight to improve students' access to affordable education."