Angus King answers reader questions on aid to Egypt, student loans, autism

Posted Aug. 04, 2013, at 6:02 a.m.
Last modified Aug. 04, 2013, at 6:48 a.m.

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, answered BDN reader questions recently on eliminating military foreign assistance to Egypt, helping those who graduated with heavy student loan burdens and what he’d like to see happen to help families who have children with autism.

Why did you vote to table Amendment No. 1739 which would have suspended foreign aid to Egypt? — Charles Welles

“The short answer is because it was a bad idea. Egypt is a crucial treaty partner of Israel. It has been stable for 25 years. It’s been an important part of the stability of the Middle East. … Cutting off aid would be bad for that reason. Then, No. 2, we want to have some influence about what’s going on in Egypt, and the way to achieve influence is not to cut off aid but to maintain it at least for the present time.”

What can be done to help all the students that have already graduated with huge student loans? The new reforms did nothing to address their issues. — Mary Caron Durost

“This fall, the Senate and the Congress will be considering something called the Higher Education Act, and I know that that’s a topic — the whole question of how to refinance those loans is a topic that’s going to be taken up in that consideration. The other piece is that there are some provisions in current law that people aren’t really familiar with that involve forgiveness of student loans if you work in certain fields and also limitations of payments to a percentage of your income.”

What are you doing for families with autism? — Benjamin Gordon Sukeforth

“We have friends who have autistic children, and I know it is very, very challenging. I think one of the most important things we can do is maintain funding for the National Institutes of Health, for NIH, because that’s where a lot of the research is being done with regard to a lot of different diseases, including autism.”

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