March 18th, 2010
05:26 PM ET
13 years ago

Conrad wins carve-out for North Dakota bank

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, said his state's bank deserves to stay in the student loan business because it both originates and services low-interest student loans."]
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Kent Conrad said Thursday he won an exemption for the state-owned Bank of North Dakota to continue making federally backed student loans under legislation that would alter the loan process.

Later: Conrad asks for bank carve-out to be removed

He said the special treatment for the bank will be included in the budget reconciliation bill, which contains both fixes to health care legislation and changes to the way federally secured student loans are made.

Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, said his state's bank deserves to stay in the student loan business because it both originates and services low-interest student loans.

"They are not like these other institutions that have created these problems," he said.

Democrats have criticized private banks for earning profits by making federally backed loans, while also pocketing a subsidy from taxpayers. Under the bill, the federal government would make the loans directly and keep any earned profits from the loans.

"This institution for many years has been the biggest provider of student aid in the state," Conrad explained. "North Dakota is a low-income state and, I think the reason I've been asked by virtually all the elected officials of North Dakota to defend the operations of the bank is because they are concerned it would reduce the availability of credit for kids to go to school."

Conrad said he is bracing for a backlash against the carve-out after seeing the public outcry over the special Medicaid payments Nebraska was set to get in the original health care bill.

"Sure I am," he said. "On the other hand, I have an obligation here representing the state I do, and this just happens to be an unusual situation. There's no other institution like it.

"Now I would say this. Any other state that wants an institution like this, they'd qualify, too."

Filed under: Health care • Kent Conrad • North Dakota
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    In other words, yet another bribe.

    March 18, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  2. Rickster

    What? A special deal for a democrat buried in the health care bill?? No way!

    A sidenote:

    Republican candidates have now stretched their lead over Democrats to 10 points in the Generic Congressional Ballot, their biggest lead ever in nearly three years of weekly tracking.

    March 18, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |

    THIS GUY IS POISON. He is a sleazy old school backroom pol, and is killing the Democrat's chances in November.

    March 18, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    I'm all for LOW INTEREST student loans. Our children and grandchildren need them. We aren't all wealthy like the republican representatives - we can't pay cash for college.

    March 18, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  5. Mike in MN

    Wonder how much money Conrad got from those North Dakota banks? Wonder if he thought about all the "good" banks in America getting the same special treatment? Probably not if they did not give him any money.

    March 18, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |

    If you are a "self-proclaimed" Democrat fence sitter on health care, the time has never been better to get your carve outs, kickbacks and under the table deals from Pelosi and Obama. They will take care of your every need in the darkness of night and under the false banner of "transparency". Then, as if by magical, these fence sitters become "yes men" with their pockets stuffed with back room deals.

    They all should be facing long sentences behind bars – and not the Kennedy type of bars...

    March 18, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  7. Richie in Mass

    More deals. UGH!

    March 18, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  8. Victim of GOP Taliban

    I'm one of those graduates that got hosed by the Student Loan banks. Maybe he is just trying to protect his local constituents...but I don't think students should be getting exploited by the banks. Let the government do it because they are not trying to jack-up rates so the bank executives get a bonus or gold watch for most rips-offs of the quarter award.

    March 18, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  9. redgraham

    It's a government OWNED bank. No backroom deals, no campaign contributions. The bank does what the admendment is supposed to do. I wish every state had a bank OWNED by a state. My money would be in it, instead of one of these corupt, corporate owned banks.

    March 18, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. Jeff from TX

    The opposite of NIMBY.

    March 18, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  11. leonardofru

    The Dems are attempting to install a dictatorship. The only way they will be able to continue to exist after November is through violence. Hell fire is acoming.

    March 18, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  12. Kevin in Ohio

    More cheating and stealing from Obama. This is absolutely disgusting and typical of the Chicago style politics that this administration embraces. HOW can anyone believe this President is honest?

    March 18, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  13. No More Incumbents

    More backroom politics as usual.............just buy the votes.........who cares if the bill is a pig.......... just make Obama look good.

    I can't wait for November.

    March 18, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  14. rdepontb

    Senator Conrad, is this your way of killing the health bill, the bill which you never supported your party or your state on????

    Have you lost all sense of decency? We are done dealing like this. If your bank needs support, do it outside of unrelated legislation. Knock this crap off.

    March 18, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  15. Aaron

    These guys never stop! Now they're adding pork and special interests to the budget reconciliation bill, which has been touted as being there to get health insurance reform in place.

    March 18, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  16. Bobert

    Surprise surprise. He won himself a "corn-husker" kickback in the first bill, why not one on the revised bill?

    March 18, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  17. File under "Sarcasm"

    More bribes to pass the crap they call healthcare reform. Don't the Demcrats get the message yet. Have some principle and say "No!", not "How much?"

    March 18, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  18. Another Cornhusker kickback.....

    don't you love how they play with your taxpayer money?

    March 18, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  19. rachel

    One of many I am sure. Obama changing Washington no Obama is the embodiment of Washington.

    March 18, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  20. The Calabash Kid

    A state-owned bank? What a brilliant idea! All student loans could be handled through low-interest state owned banks. We need 49 more of them. We certainly can't trust private banks no matter what regulations we pass. They just bribe the weakest Congressmen to alter a phrase here and another there until regulations mean nothing.

    Why has North Dakota kept this a secret?

    March 18, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  21. Mark from Louisiana

    This administration will go down in history as the most corrupt ever in our country. Time to impeach.

    March 18, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |

    Bank of North Dakota is the only state-owned bank in the country.

    March 18, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  23. Amazing Kreskin

    The health care reform bill fails.

    March 18, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  24. ib

    another example of how low the democrats have gone to pass this bad bill. I hope it is tied up in court for years due to crap like this.

    March 18, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  25. martin

    If you want to go to college, get a job and pay for it yourself like a good republican student.

    March 18, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
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