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Duckworth, Foster, Schneider Call On Congress To Stop Student Loan Interest Rate Increase

Jun 26, 2013
Press Release
Congress Must Act Before July 1 To Prevent Doubling Of Student Loan Interest Rates

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Tammy Duckworth, Bill Foster and Brad Schneider are calling on Congress to take action to stop the student loan interest rate increase.  If no action is taken before July 1, student loan interest rates will double, jumping from 3.4% to 6.8% for federally subsidized student loans.  This is the last week for Congress to take action before the rate increase takes effect.

“Student loans allow working families to send their children to college and have an opportunity to achieve the American dream,” said Duckworth. “They helped me finish college and serve my country in the Army and Congress. We cannot allow talented young Americans to have their dreams thwarted because we have lost sight of our priorities. We need to bring forth a common sense proposal and act now to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1.”

“It is long past time for Congress to take action.  We can’t continue to risk the long-term health of our economy and financial wellbeing of hard working families because of partisan fighting,” said Foster.  “Providing a competitive, world-class education to our children is essential to our country’s future economic growth.  We have some of the best educational opportunities in the world in the US, but we must ensure they are not financially out of reach to our students.  This is about our future.  That is why I have, and will continue to, call on Congress to take action to stop the doubling of student loan interest rates on July 1.”

“For far too many, college is increasingly becoming a dream beyond their reach. Congress must act by July 1 to prevent student loan rates from doubling, making it more expensive for already struggling families to pay for college,” said Schneider. “We need to work together to make higher education more affordable and accessible because only by enhancing our nation’s education opportunities will we maintain the best educated, most innovative and most productive workforce in the world.”

To force action on the issue, Duckworth, Foster and Schneider have all signed a discharge petition to bring up H.R. 1595, the Student Loan Relief Act of 2013—legislation that would freeze student loan rates at 3.4% for the next two years. A discharge petition is a mechanism to avoid leadership gridlock in Congress by requiring the House to consider the legislation once a majority of Members of Congress (218) have signed it.

All three Representatives are cosponsors of the Student Loan Relief Act, which was introduced on April 17, 2013 and has over 150 cosponsors, but House Republicans have failed to schedule a vote on the bill.

Republicans have proposed legislation that would raise interest rates for federal student loans even higher, costing students nearly $2,000 more in interest than if interest rates doubled and increasing student loan debt by almost $4 billion.