With Loan Fight Pending, Kennedy to Return to Senate

May 20, 2009

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has been a major player in nearly every important piece of higher education legislation for at least the last two decades, and with Congress poised to take on a potentially enormous higher ed challenge -- President Obama's proposal to transform the Pell Grant and student loan programs -- the Massachusetts senator appears likely to be in the thick of things again. The Hill newspaper, citing Congressional Democratic sources, reported Tuesday that Kennedy's brain cancer is in remission and that he is set to return to the Senate after the Memorial Day recess. Kennedy has been promising for months that he would return to lead Congressional efforts to enact President Obama's health care reform plan, but lots of commentators have played down that possibility. Kennedy heads the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that would play a central role in reform of both health care and the student aid programs. The Obama proposal to end the guaranteed loan program and use the proceeds to make Pell Grants an entitlement will get its first Congressional hearing tomorrow before the House Education and Labor Committee, the House equivalent of Kennedy's panel.

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