Monday, October 5, 2015

Last Call For Taking It For Granite

Although rumored for months now as the state fought over the budget, New Hampshire Dem Gov. Maggie Hassan is going after GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte's seat in 2016.

Senate Democrats got the candidate they wanted in New Hampshire. 
Gov. Maggie Hassan announced Monday she is challenging GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte for Senate in the Granite State, rather than seek a third term as governor. It’s a move Democrats say gives the party its best shot at picking up a seat that will prove critical to Senate control.

The two-term governor had been mum on her plans as she sparred with the Republican-controlled state legislature over the budget — saying she needed to focus on the job she had rather than make plans for her political future. Republicans in the state were happy to keep Hassan’s focus on the budget for as long as possible, preventing her from publicly deciding whether to run for re-election or challenge Ayotte for Senate. 
But Hassan and the legislature came to a budget agreement, finally freeing Hassan to decide.

This is good news as Ayotte (and her "Third Amigo" to McCain/Graham shtick) is vulnerable as the GOP brand is badly damaged. If the Democrats are going to take back the Senate in 2016, this is one of the seats they'll need to pick up, and Hassan, the state's popular governor, is by far the best candidate to do so.

I've got a good feeling about this race for the Dems about getting rid of nasty corporate Republicans like Ayotte.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Sen. Shelley Moore (R-WV) introduced the Student Loan Relief Act of 2015 on Thursday, which would let borrowers refinance their federal student loans in the private market. The senators argue that if their legislation passed, students would be able to benefit from lower interest rates.

Sounds great, right?  Republicans like Ayotte are moderates who care about student loan and debt relief, see?

Although many large banks left the private student loan market after the financial crisis, plenty of politically connected organizations such as state agency lenders and nonprofits have fought to stay in the market. One example is Granite State Management, a New Hampshire nonprofit organization that does student loan servicing. GSM’s primary income is through its student loan servicing, but they would make much more through issuing loans. GSM’s status as a charitable organization was challenged by the City of Concord in 2013 but the court ultimately held up its status, saying that “servicing and administration of loans is not GSMR’s charitable purpose, but a means to achieve” the purpose of its mission to “providing low cost or alternative financial assistance to eligible students and to parents . . . and of supporting the development of higher education and educational opportunities.”

I bet you can see where this is going.

“What they’re trying to do is go back to the bad old days of a bank-based loan system. They want private banks to take over the loan and take none of the risk. So what they’re saying is, ‘Oh, it will be good for students because they will get a lower rate from the private market,'” said Ben Miller, senior director for postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress. “But really what’s going to happen is that the private market is going to get a giant windfall and pass along a tiny slice of it to the students in the form of a lower interest rate … You would hope to do a lot more by spending the exact same amount of money and just cutting their interest rates. There is no value add from the private market.”

That's right, Ayotte's student loan bill is really a way to get Wall Street back into the student loan business.  Shocking, I know.

Can't wait for Hassan to kick her ass.

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