DATE:  October 24, 2012

CONTACT: MaryAnne Pintar, 619-252-9923,

 Peters is the better choice by far for those who believe education is a top priority.”~ Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction

 San Diego – The highest-ranking public education official in the state of California today endorsed San Diego Port Commissioner Scott Peters for Congress over 12-year incumbent Congressman Brian Bilbray. Tom Torlakson, California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, said he was backing Peters because Bilbray’s track record on standing up for students is dismal.

“Scott Peters will represent the right priorities in Washington D.C. and education is at the top of his list,” said Torlakson. “College shouldn’t only be for the wealthy; yet Brian Bilbray has voted repeatedly to slash federal aid for students who qualify while allowing loopholes for profitable corporations. His priorities could not be more backward.” 

Brian Bilbray has voted to cut funds for Pell Grants, and against increased funds for student loans at a time when working families across America are struggling and sacrificing to make ends meet during a tough economic recession.

 “My sisters and I all went to college and were able to build our careers because we had financial aid,” Peters said. “My dad wouldn’t have been able to put us all through college on his minister’s salary without it. I’m running to fight for every kid who deserves the same opportunity.”

Peters said voters should be particularly disappointed in Mr. Bilbray’s vote against the Healthcare and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 that allowed recipients of student loans to repay them in a way that reflects their post education salaries. 

“By making payment schedules more in line with actual salaries, it’s easier for loan recipients to repay those loans. That means these debts are more likely to be repaid. Lowers default rates save us billions in the long run,” Peters said.

Scott Peters is running a heated challenged to Bilbray in California’s newly drawn 52nd Congressional District.

For more information about Scott’s campaign to fix Congress, go to


Congressman Bilbray Voted Against Making Student Loans More Affordable. In 2012, the Fountain Valley Patch reported that Clinton talked about the Student Loan Reform Act. Bilbray voted against the bill that was designed to make student loans more affordable. It was reported that “the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 would save taxpayers $68 billion in the coming years by cutting out the role of banks and lending institutions as middlemen in federally guaranteed student loans. The money is to be channeled into the Pell Grant program, invested in community colleges and historically black colleges and used to make student loans more affordable by capping repayments at 10 percent of discretionary income starting in 2014.” [H R 4872, Vote #167, 3/21/10;, 3/30/10]

Congressman Bilbray Voted for the Ryan Budget That Jeopardized Pell Grants for Millions of Students.  In 2012, Bilbray voted for the Ryan Budget. Under this plan, 9.6 million students could see their Pell Grants fall by more than $1000 in 2014, and, over the next decade, over one million students would lose support altogether. [OMB, 3/21/12; H Con Res 112, Vote #151, 3/29/12]

Congressman Bilbray Voted to Make Cuts to the Pell Grant Program. In 2011, Bilbray voted for a Republican budget which, according to data from the Department of Education, would cut 1.4 million students from being eligible for Pell Grants. According to the House Committee on Education and Labor: “Under the Republican budget, the maximum Pell Grant award would be cut by more than $2,500 for the 2012-2013 school year, bringing the maximum award to $3,040, the lowest it’s been since 1998.  New data from the Department of Education shows that the Republican budget would result in almost 1.4 million students losing eligibility for Pell grants, and all students receiving significantly reduced awards. For students, this could make college far less affordable.”  [House Committee on Education and Labor, 4/15/11 citing Estimates from the US Department of Education; H Con Res 34, Vote #277, 4/15/11]

Congressman Bilbray Voted for Bill that Would Have Slashed Pell Grants. In 2011, Bilbray voted for $61 billion in draconian cuts for a continuing resolution to finish fiscal year 2011. The bill would have slashed “the maximum Pell Grant by $845 -- from the current maximum of $5,550 to $4,705.  This GOP bill will lower the amount of aid that 9.4 million college students are projected to receive.” [HR 1, Vote #147, 2/19/11; Democratic Leader press release]

Congressman Bilbray Opposed Largest Increase in Student Aid Since the GI Bill. In 2007, Bilbray voted against legislation that provided the largest increase in student aid since the G.I. Bill. The conference report of the bill cut government subsidies to student loan firms by about $20 billion and redirected most of the money to aid for students and college graduates. It also included $750 million in federal budget deficit reduction. The maximum Pell grant award would be increased by $490 in 2008 and by $1,090 over five years. It also provided debt forgiveness to certain public-sector workers after 10 years of service, and capped student loan repayments at 15 percent of discretionary income. [HR 2669, Vote #864, 9/07/07; Reno Gazette Journal, 9/10/07]