Skip to comments.Barletta blames Kanjorski for job losses
Posted on 05/22/2010 8:16:01 AM PDT by Born Conservative
Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, Republican candidate in the 11th Congressional District, blasted Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski on Friday for voting for legislation that cost employees their jobs at Sallie Mae.
Roughly 100 customer service employees at Sallie Mae in Hanover Township will lose their jobs in mid-July, the company announced Thursday. The layoffs are occurring after Congress passed health reform legislation and President Barack Obama signed it into law in March. Part of new law makes the federal government the direct lender of student loans. Previously, the government subsidized Sallie Mae, banks and private firms which originated many loans to students.
While Obama said the reform of student loan programs will save taxpayers $68 billion over the next decade, Sallie Mae officials and employees said it would put jobs in jeopardy. Kanjorski was among the majority of lawmakers who voted in favor of the health care reform leg islation, including its changes in student lending.
"Today, 100 residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania have to start looking for new jobs because of Mr. Kanjorski's foolish decision," Barletta said Friday. "Sallie Mae workers told him this would be bad for them if it was included in the health care bill. He (Kanjorski) knowingly jeopardized their jobs,"
Kanjorski countered that Education Secretary Arne Duncan assured Kanjorski he would use "all of the tools at his disposal to help ensure that these workers will remain employes." A letter Duncan sent to Kanjorski in March said the Department of Education would consider job preservation in the student loan industry amid the changes.
"The department's goal is to see that jobs are preserved in areas already adversely affected by the economic downturn," Duncan's letter stated.
On Friday, Kanjorski said he met with officials from Sallie Mae and has had continuing discussions with officials from the U.S. Department of Education and the Obama Administration about how to try to keep the jobs in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
"I am disappointed that Sallie Mae has decided to cut jobs at their servicing center in Northeastern Pennsylvania even though it will continue to service loans at the facility and nationwide," Kanjorski said. "I am closely working with Sallie Mae, the U.S. Department of Education and the Administration as they work through the expansion of the direct lending program and to help keep the Sallie Mae jobs in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Last year, Sallie Mae was one of four companies chosen to service $550 billion in federal student loans made by the Department of Education.
During the last 18 months, Sallie Mae officials and workers have protested student loan changes and what they said would be resulting job cuts at rallies, at congressional offices with petitions in hand and through radio advertisements.
"We had communicated very clearly over a year and a half about the impact," said Sallie Mae spokesman Conwey Casillas.
Casillas and Sallie Mae spokeswoman Martha Holler said the loss of the origination of student loans is taking away one-third of the company's business and will result in a loss of about 2,500 jobs company-wide by 2011. Sallie Mae, previously the nation's largest student lender, employs about 8,600 people nationwide.
Employees losing their jobs at Sallie Mae will have the opportunity to apply for other jobs at the Hanover Township facility and other locations throughout the company, said company spokesman Richard Castellano. All affected employees will receive severance packages, he said.
"These are particularly difficult decisions and the cuts are being felt across the entire company," Castellano said.
Sallie Mae previously announced that its Panama City, Fla., facility will close by the end of the year, affecting roughly 700 employees, as well as its center in Killeen, Texas, which affected about 475 employees. Sallie Mae employs 1,100 people in Hanover Township.
Barletta said the student loan bill should not have been included with health care reform legislation. When Kanjorski voted for the health care bill, Barletta charged he "knew he was putting 1,100 jobs in his own district at risk when he voted with (House Speaker) Ms. (Nancy) Pelosi."
"His (Kanjorski's) reckless actions show that he is out of touch with his constituents," Barletta said.
Kanjorski voted against the HR 3221, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which passed the House in September 2009. In March, he said he was "greatly disturbed" when the student loan legislation was hastily attached to the health care reform bill at the last minute "because of the impact it would have on the 1,100 Sallie Mae workers in my district."
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. said his office would reach out to the employees who lost their jobs to offer help in securing available assistance.
"I have also already urged the Department of Education to speed up the implementation of the $50 million in job retention incentives I helped to secure to retain employees who performed loan origination work," Casey said.
"The Sallie Mae facility in Hanover Township has loan servicing at the heart of its operation. Especially as Sallie Mae looks to expand its role in loan servicing, I hope that they will look to expand the facility and bring more jobs to Northeastern Pennsylvania," Casey said.
Kanjorski is another crook that needs to be kicked out of office and put in prison.
Huh? The Democrats truly believe that Americans are deaf, dumb and blind.
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