Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013by Representative Glenn Thompson
Posted on 2013-07-31
THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, as an original cosponsor of H.R. 1911, the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act, I rise in support of the Senate amendment to H.R. 1911.
President Obama, as part of his budget request, proposed returning student loan interest rates to a system of market-based variable rates tagged to the 10-year Treasury note.
As a member of the Education and Workforce Committee, I can attest the committee staff and members worked in good faith to meet the President's request, developing a bill that could pass the House and promote certainty for student borrowers. The House moved to pass the bill in May, reasserting that access to education for so many of America's young people should not be subject to annual political battles. Unfortunately, the Senate chose politics over students and delayed passage of the legislation until last week.
The positive is that H.R. 1911 is a complete departure from what had become an annual debate within Congress on how to set the rates for student loans. This measure modifies how interest rates on most Federal student loans are set, returning to a system under which interest rates are tied to market rates, but with rates fixed for the period of the loan. It would apply retroactively to any loans since July 1, when the 3.4 interest rate on Stafford loans rose to 6.8 percent.
This bill will transition the student loan system to one that is more predictable and affordable--one that protects both taxpayers and students. We have a responsibility to America's youth. We have a responsibility to the students such as those seeking opportunities at Penn State, Pitt, Lock Haven, Clarion, Edinboro, Juniata, Dubois Business College, and South Hills. We have to put forward a long-term plan for college affordability. This bill is a good first step and will offer students the lowest possible rate for higher education while ensuring the solvency of these important loan programs.
I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense, bipartisan legislation.
Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Polis).