(Extensions of Remarks - June 27, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E983]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                           HON. TONY CARDENAS

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, June 27, 2013

  Mr. CARDENAS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to H.R. 1911, 
Smarter Solutions for Students Act.
   This is a truly devastating bill for every working and middle class 
family trying to achieve the American Dream.
   If we do nothing before July 1st, we will be passively negligent.
   If we pass this will today, we will be actively destroying our 
competitiveness and economic strength by taking dollars out of the 
pockets of our workforce.
   The bill is as far away from ``commonsense legislation'' as we get. 
It makes the situation worse by making college education far more 
   According a Congressional Research Service report, under this 
proposal, a student borrowing the maximum loan amounts with a 5 year 
subsidized loan will pay more than $10,000. Even under the doubled rate 
of July 1, a student with the same loan would pay less than $9,000. 
Under the current rate of 3.4 percent, this student pays just over 
   Those massive differences in repayment rates show that this bill was 
not written with students in mind.
   The growing student loan-burden in our country is critical and must 
be addressed.
   According to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, student loan 
debt recently surpassed the $1 trillion mark. The 2010 Survey of 
Consumer Finances reported that 45 percent of all American families 
hold outstanding student-loan debt. This was an increase from 33 
percent in 2007.
   While the majority of student debt is held by people under the age 
of 35, increasing student debt affects every member of the family, 
especially in a time when nearly half of bachelor's degree holders 
under the age of 25 are unemployed.
   However, addressing increased interest costs is only part of the 
solution. We need to begin to address the exorbitant prices of higher 
education. I understand that universities are trying to cope with the 
decreases in government funding and declining contributions as a result 
of the tough economic times. However, these institutions also have a 
role to play in ensuring that education is accessible and affordable to 
all students. If these institutions would like the government to 
continue to invest in students, they should do so as well, by doing 
everything in their power to keep tuition costs low.
   I cannot stress enough the importance of making college education 
accessible. We all agree that education transforms people's lives. 
Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty, crime, and 
violence in any community. It is the engine that will propel our 
families into the middle class and allow us to reinvigorate and grow 
our economy. We must act swiftly to remedy this unsustainable