Rep. Lynn Jenkins, in Saturday's GOP address
, called on the president to protect college savings accounts, not go through with a now-abandoned plan to raise taxes on them.
The Kansas Republican introduced a bipartisan plan last week to expand the popular 529 college savings accounts, which are investment plans that encourage saving for a beneficiary's higher education expenses.
Story continues below video.
The plans, named for Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, are typically administered by state agencies and organizations, and still remain free from federal income tax collections.
"Many parents open them not long after their children are born," said Jenkins, "and ever since Congress allowed folks to withdraw from these accounts tax-free for college expenses, 1 million account holders have turned into 12 million."
But instead of expanding the 529 savings program, President Barack Obama during the State of the Union address proposed reducing the tax benefits of future contributions to the popular 529 college savings plans. Current accounts would be grandfathered, so existing funds could still grow and be withdrawn, tax-free.
"If implemented, his scheme would have turned back the clock on middle-class families, and taken money from your savings to pay for more government," said Jenkins, a parent of two college students. "This would have discouraged families from using 529s, meaning less savings, more debt, and more government dependence."
Jenkins, who is vice chair of the House Republican Conference, pointed out that Americans now owe more than $1 trillion in student loan debt, but it took "a public outcry" for Obama to realize how vital the 529 plans are for middle-class families, and just days after he proposed his plan, he agreed to drop it after outcry from both Democrats and Republicans.
Abandoning the proposal, though, is "not enough," said Jenkins, calling on Obama to "put his full weight behind our plan to expand and strengthen 529 accounts."
Through the expansion, common paperwork problems would be removed, said Jenkins. In addition, it would "empower students to use the money to pay for computers, and make it easier for families to send their kids to the college of their choice. Because we should be rewarding people who work hard and play by the rules – not punishing them."
Jenkins also called on Obama to reconsider his threats to veto the House's common-sense jobs bills.
"We’ve voted to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would create 42,000 American jobs," she said. "We’re ready to restore the 40-hour workweek so we can get people working full-time again. And we think bureaucrats should have to regulate with more transparency and less cost."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.