(House of Representatives - February 14, 2013)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.


[Pages H513-H514]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                              {time}  1100

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Tennessee (Mr. Duncan) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. DUNCAN of Tennessee. Mr. Speaker, one thing that President Obama 
mentioned in his State of the Union speech the other night, which I 
hope he follows up on, is his effort to stop the cost of college 
tuition and fees from going up at such a rapid rate.
  I spoke to a class at the University of Tennessee last week--and I've 
done that many times--and whenever I speak to classes, it shocks the 
students when I tell them that in my first year at the University of 
Tennessee it cost $90 per quarter in our tuition. In other words, I 
went to school for $270. It went up to $105, and then $120, and then 
$135 a quarter my senior year, so it went up $405. But this was shortly 
after the Federal student loan program had come in.
  Until that program came in, college tuition and fees went up at just 
the rate of inflation. It went up very slowly--in fact, sometimes less 
than inflation. But now, and ever since that program has come in, 
tuition and fees have gone up at three or four or five times the rate 
of inflation, so that today colleges and universities cost 300, 400, 
and 500 percent higher than they would have if we had just left things 
alone. Anything the Federal Government subsidizes, the costs just 
  When I went to the University of Tennessee--my senior year in high 
school I had been a bag boy at the A&P making $1.10 an hour--I got a 
big raise. As a freshman at the university, I became a salesman at 
Sears and worked there my first 2 years, and I made $1.25 an hour.
  Almost everybody who needed to could work part-time and pay all of 
their expenses and fees in college. Nobody had to borrow money to go to 
colleges or universities; nobody got out of school with a debt. Then 
the Federal Government decided to help. And now, what it has resulted 
in is almost everybody has to borrow money to pay their tuition and 
fees, and almost everybody gets out of school with some kind of huge 
  We've seen the same thing happen in medical care. The Federal 
Government decided to help out. Before the Federal Government got 
involved in medical care, medical care was cheap and affordable to 
almost everybody. Doctors even made house calls. We took what was a 
very minor problem for a very few people and now we've turned it into a 
massive, major problem for everyone. That seems to be the history of 
the Federal Government.
  I just came from a hearing in the Oversight and the Government Reform 
Committee, and I will return to that shortly. But in the GAO report on 
the New York Medicaid program--which is the largest in the country--it 
tells about a daily payment method resulting in a $5,000 daily rate for 
institutional residents in the State of New York--$5,000 daily 
payments. The New York program is paying over twice as much as the 
average around the country.
  We sometimes hear that Medicare and Medicaid can't be cut. We 
certainly don't want to hurt any lower-income people, but there are 
some people and companies getting ridiculously, fabulously wealthy off 
of Medicare and Medicaid. And almost every government program ends up 
being some sort

[[Page H514]]

of a sweetheart, insider-type deal, giving contracts to companies who 
hire former Federal employees. It's just scandalous what is going on in 
this country and it's really hurting this Nation badly--and especially 
hurting the middle income people that the President says he's so eager 
to help, but who he will be hurting worse than ever if he keeps 
expanding the Federal Government at the rate that he wants to.