Conrad asks for removal of bank exemption

Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) asked the House on Thursday night to remove a provision in the health care reconciliation package to provide an exemption to the Bank of North Dakota from a proposed change in the level of federal subsides to avoid problems for the bank. 

A package of education provisions, included in the reconciliation instructions would eliminate most federal subsides to banks that make student loans. 

Conrad pointed out that the nation's only state-owned bank has "not engaged in abuses that have required the reform legislation that is before us. It not only originates the loans, it services the loans. As a result, the default average is one-quarter of the national average," he said in a news release. 

"But often, facts are the first victim in an overly heated partisan environment. And rather than see the excellent reputation of the Bank of North Dakota damaged, I have asked to have the provision removed."

Earlier today, Conrad, who has been a proponent of the health care legislation, told reporters that he didn't request the exemption and that he already supported the addition of the education provisions.