(House of Representatives - May 23, 2013)

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[Page H2942]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                      STUDENT LOAN INTEREST RATES

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Holding). Under the Speaker's announced 
policy of January 3, 2013, the gentleman from Rhode Island (Mr. 
Cicilline) is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority 
  Mr. CICILLINE. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
  I rise in strong opposition to the Making College More Expensive Act. 
This legislation is an attack on students, and it undermines the dream 
of higher education.
  If we are serious about getting our country back on the right track, 
putting people back to work and ensuring that we remain competitive in 
the global economy, we have to do more to make higher education more 
accessible and more affordable, not more expensive.
  Without congressional action, the interest rate on Federal subsidized 
Stafford loans is scheduled to increase from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent 
for more than 7 million students. Rather than fixing this problem, this 
legislation makes it worse. This bill will hurt young people and middle 
class families who are already struggling with crushing student loan 
debt. The idea that as a country we make money on the pursuit by young 
people of their educations is plain wrong.
  Simply put, the United States Government should not be making a 
profit on student loans, and there are several proposals pending before 
the House today that would give students access to college at the 
lowest cost possible. The Student Loan Relief Act, the Responsible 
Student Loan Solutions Act, and the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act 
would each preserve low interest rates for students; but the bill 
before us today is a bad Republican idea that will make college more 
expensive for working families and millions of students.
  According to the independent, nonpartisan Congressional Research 
Service, students with 5 years of subsidized Stafford loans borrowed at 
the maximum amount would owe $4,174 in interest under the current rate. 
It would rise to $8,808 if we allowed interest rates to double on July 
1; but under this proposal, students would owe a total of $10,109 in 
interest payments on their loans. Hidden within this bill is a blatant 
bait and switch scheme that will allow students to borrow money at one 
rate before their interest rates skyrocket.
  We've seen this before. Our friends on the other side of the aisle 
like to claim that putting student loans into the marketplace is a 
cure-all for increased student debt; but in this case, the 
``marketplace'' is code for billions of more dollars in interest 
payments, as this bill would prevent students from enjoying the lowest 
available interest rates. This is just wrong.
  Our young people deserve more. It's in the interest of our entire 
country to ensure that as many young people as possible have access to 
higher education. So let's reject the Making College More Expensive Act 
and find a serious long-term solution on student loans that will make 
college more affordable for millions and millions of Americans.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.