Although not prominent, the education budget also proposes to align student loan rates with current market rates and to again repeal the scheduled July 1 interest rate hikes, which were a cause of concern to millions of college students last year as well as a key talking point for Obama on the campaign trail. If successful the measure would keep interest rates on subsidized Stafford Loans from doubling to 6.8 percent from 3.4 percent.
Also, the budget has requested funding to improve school security, with an emphasis on emergency management and crisis response plans, including $25 million for Project Prevent grants to help schools break the cycle of violence within their communities.
Critics of the president’s overall budget request label it “overstuffed.”
House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) called the budget “overstuffed with spending and tax increases that will continue to hinder economic growth.”
“Mandatory, auto-pilot spending on entitlement programs – the driver of our deficits and the root of our spending problem – must be substantially reformed to bring down costs, not just given a passing nod,” he said. “This, combined with the president’s proposed tax increases, will only perpetuate the nation’s deficits and debt, taking the nation further away from a balanced budget, financial stability, and economic growth.”
The ranking member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee decried Obama’s budget as one that “raises taxes and never balances.”
“There will have to be additional steps if we’re going to make a serious attempt to fix the debt and avoid having young Americans forever be known as the debt-paying generation,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).