Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), a senior House Democrat, explains why he endorsed Hillary Clinton in appearance on MSNBC today. Clyburn hit Bernie Sanders, Clinton's competitor, for his promise of free education.
"I do not believe there are any free lunches," Clyburn said on MSNBC. "And certainly there's not going to be any free education."
Clyburn said he cannot believe that public higher education will be free in his lifetime.
"I have made the White House aware of my disenchantment with their proposal they came out with because I do believe we ought to make education affordable. But I think for you to believe that they're going to make education free, I don't think that's going to happen. Not in my lifetime, and not in my children's lifetime," Clyburn added.
Transcript, via MSNBC:
TAMRON HALL: Well, Hillary Clinton has said that Bernie Sanders is making promises essentially that he can't deliver on. Promises that have been appealing to young voters and some African-American voters and we're seeing that trend in Nevada as well with Latino voters. Do you believe that Bernie Sanders is making promises that he cannot deliver on?
CLYBURN: Well, let me put it this way. I do not believe there are any free lunches. And certainly there's not going to be any free education. I have made the White House aware of my disenchantment with their proposal they came out with because I do believe we ought to make education affordable. But I think for you to believe that they're going to make education free, I don't think that's going to happen. Not in my lifetime, and not in my children's lifetime.
HALL: But Bernie Sanders believes he has a plan, it's not -- he would say to not make education free, but tuition free. The sky-rocketing costs of tuition. And when you see young people who say, I'm in debt before I even pick up the diploma, and at least there's an idea, they believe, coming from Bernie Sanders, he believes he can implement -- Are you saying to them, listen, that's just not happening?
CLYBURN: Let me remind you, and Bernie worked with me on this, a lot of people forget -- and when we passed the Affordable Care Act, we passed along with it a big education act as well. And in that education, we took $40 billion away from the middleman and pumped it into student aid. And we reduced the interest on loans down to 3 percent. The fact of the matter is we made education affordable.
Now, that's expired. The recovery act is no longer in place. Therefore, that went away. That is the kind of thing we ought to bring back. We ought to reduce the interest on student loans. But I don't believe for one moment that we ought to jeopardize the existence of the historical black colleges and universities. There are 103 of them in this country, and they're not -- a few of them are public institutions, but most of them are not. They are church schools and they are other private schools. Why would their students -- they would be able to keep their students -- if they could go across town for free? So we have to look at where the sweet spot is. I would say that anybody, be careful what you pray for.