A day after approving Governor Blunt’s MOHELA proposal, the legislature approves its companion spending plan.

House Budget Committee Chairman, Allen Icet (R-Wildwood) has a curt answer when a Democrat suggests that without the companion spending bill, passage of the MOHELA bill would be useless, saying, "I’m fairly certain HB 16 is going to pass."

It does on a 105-to-50 vote, but not before Democrats again heap scorn upon the Governor Blunt’s plan to sell $350 million in assets from the student loan agency to pay for college capital improvements. It also funds college scholarship programs as well as health care initiatives such as Federally Qualified Health Centers.

House Minority Leader Jeff Harris (D-Columbia) notes Blunt dropped his emphasis on life science research to appease pro-life legislators. Harris says the project list has been diluted by continual compromise. Harris contends the plan will bankrupt the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority.

Rep. Bryan Stevenson (R-Webb City) calls change a natural part of the legislative process and disputes Harris’ characterization. Stevenson insists the legislature is not bankrupting MOHELA. He compares the plan to the selling of loans in which lending agencies routinely engage.

HB 16 bill outlines the capital improvements projects for various colleges, as well as enhanced scholarships and health care spending to be financed from the MOHELA asset sale.

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