House Dems Press Chamber To Address Student Loan Interest Rates
House Democrats are pressing their colleagues to address the student loan interest rate hike that is set to take effect July 1, if lawmakers fail to pass legislation that would stop the increase.
The legislators, including U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D, IL-11), filed a discharge petition to call HR 1595, the Student Loan Relief Act of 2013. If passed, the bill would freeze student loan interest rates at 3.4 percent for the next two years, which would stop it from doubling to 6.8 percent in July. A discharge petition would force the chamber to look at the bill once a majority of House lawmakers signed on to the bill.
“Providing a competitive, world-class education to our children is essential to our country’s future economic growth,” said Foster, a cosponsor of the bill. “We have some of the best educational opportunities in the world in the US, but we must ensure that they are not financially out of reach to our students. That is why I am calling on Congress to take action to stop the doubling of student loan interest rates on July 1st.”
More than 150 lawmakers have cosponsored the bill, and 218 signees are needed to force the chamber to consider the bill via the discharge petition.
Foster voted against a Republican-backed bill, HR 1911, last month, which the chamber passed. The bill would reset student loan interest rates every year based on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes plus 2.5 percent, meaning that interest rates would fluctuate annually for the life of the loans. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill would cost college students and their families $3.7 billion in extra interest payments over the next 10 years. No Illinois Democrats voted in favor of the legislation, called the Smarter Solutions for Students Act.
There are fewer than 10 legislative days left to address the issue before the interest rate doubling goes into effect.