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The House of Representatives' Education and Labor Committee on Thursday passed along party lines legislation aimed at making college more affordable, with unanimous support from the Democratic majority.

The College Affordability Act, as the legislation is known, boosts the size of the Pell Grant, enacts a federal-state partnership to make community colleges free, streamlines student loan repayment and codifies Obama-era college accountability rules. It would also restore the gainful-employment rule, aimed at weeding out poorly performing for-profit and vocational programs.

The bill was approved on a vote of 28 to 22, with Republicans unanimously opposing it.

Representative Robert C. Scott, the Virginia Democrat who heads the panel, said the legislation would "immediately lower the cost of college while putting a down payment on investments that we need to make in the future."

The panel's top Republican, North Carolina representative Virginia Foxx, said of the measure, "The same tired idea of throwing more money into the existing system and hoping that this time things will be different is the very definition of insanity."