David M. Herszenhorn at The New York Times points out a curious thing happening in the midst of the debate over student lending reform: Although the plan to eliminate billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to private lenders originated, by some accounts, with President Bill Clinton, it’s now former Clinton aides who are leading the well-heeled push to kill the Democrats’ reform proposal.
The Glover Park Group, a DC-based political consulting firm founded by former Clinton staffers, blasted the lending legislation yesterday, just about the same time that the bill’s Democratic sponsors — Sen. Tom Harkin (Iowa) and Rep. George Miller (Calif.) — were promoting it on Capitol Hill.
“Miller and Harkin Push a Bill Doomed to Fail while Rejecting Bipartisan Solutions,” a Glover Park operative, Tim Miller, wrote in an unsolicited e-mail message to reporters. “While Miller and Harkin misguidedly storm forward with a bill that is doomed to fail, colleges and students are being denied the immediate benefits that would result from bipartisan, comprehensive student loan reform that could be passed with a few enhancements to the legislation.”
The “enhancements” the Glover Park crew is endorsing are found in a separate proposal that would allow private lenders to keep making student loans — and to keep profiting from those loans. So is it just a coincidence that the nation’s largest student lenders are pushing the very same proposal?
“We don’t comment on our clients,” Miller of Glover Park wrote to Herszenhorn.