Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren publicly took Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell to task Wednesday on her bill to lower interest rates for government student loans, which failed the Senate last month just two votes shy of breaking a Republican filibuster.
“Last week Mitch McConnell was asked about the student loan bill,” Warren told an obviously friendly crowd of 1,000 young progressives gathered in Washington for the Center for American Progress’s Make Progress Summit. “Mitch McConnell actually suggested that the solution for college affordability is for young people to lower their expectations and become more cost conscious, because he said not everyone needs to go to Yale.”
McConnell made the remarks in a town hall meeting last week, when explaining his support of proprietary education—or for-profit schools—as, he said, it increases competition with traditional colleges:
...I think the best short-term solution is for parents to be very cost-conscious in shopping around for higher education alternatives. Not everybody needs to go to Yale. I don't know about you guys, but I went to a regular ol' Kentucky college. And some people would say I've done okay.
Warren then asked everyone in the room who had student loans and didn’t go to Yale to raise their hands—and the vast majority did. “His vision for America is that no one reaches higher than they can already afford,” Warren scoffed. “Mitch McConnell may think that the solution to the exploding student loan debt is to dream a little smaller. Well, he is wrong… We are going to build a better country than the one Mitch McConnell envisioned.”
Request for comment from McConnell’s campaign wasn’t immediately answered.
Warren then said the only way to fix the situation was to convince two senators to change their minds, an endeavor she asked the students in the room to help with. Because it’s either change their minds, or elect those that don’t “hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers,” she told the roaring crowd, who gave her an ovation.
The Massachusetts Democrat's remarks came two weeks after she campaigned for Alison Grimes, McConnell's Democratic challenger in this November's elections.