7 Arrested Protesting Higher Ed Cuts at Senate Hearing

March 19, 2015

WASHINGTON -- A group of demonstrators interrupted a U.S. Senate Budget Committee hearing Wednesday, decrying proposed reductions in higher education spending in the budget blueprints released this week by Congressional Republicans.

United States Capitol Police escorted the demonstrators from the hearing room as they chanted, “No cuts, no fees, education should be free.” Seven individuals were arrested, according to public information officer Shennell Antrobus, who said they would each be charged with "crowding, obstructing or incommoding," a misdemeanor under District of Columbia law. 

Senate Republicans on Wednesday unveiled a budget outline that would sharply reduce the rate of federal spending, but the plan offers very few details on how lawmakers would go about doing that. Like the House budget resolution introduced Tuesday, the Senate plan would also freeze the maximum Pell Grant over the next decade, The New York Times reported.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent, blasted the Republican proposal at Wednesday’s hearing, saying it would “cut $90 billion in Pell Grants” over the next 10 years.

The demonstration at the hearing was organized by the United States Students Association. “If Congressional Republicans are going to balance the budget on the backs of students, we think it necessitates action now,” said the group’s president, Maxwell John Love. He said that the association planned to bring 300 students to Capitol Hill later this week to lobby for student aid funding. 

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