WASHINGTON, D.C. | July 31, 2013 -
After many weeks of delay, I am pleased we finally have a bipartisan agreement to address the student loan interest rate problem. My colleagues and I have been fighting for months for a long-term, market-based solution that will serve students and taxpayers, and the legislation before us today will do just that.
As you can see in this chart, much like the Smarter Solutions for Students Act approved by the House back in May, the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act will tie student loan interest rates to the market, taking away the uncertainty that comes with allowing Congress to arbitrarily set rates.
Similarly, both billsprovide a permanent fix to the interest rate problem, granting students the certainty they need to make smart, fiscally responsible investments in their education.
And most importantly, this legislation, like its predecessor, doesn’t unfairly penalize taxpayers. Unlike some half-baked proposals that would put taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars to pay for artificially low student loan interest rates, both the House-passed Smarter Solutions for Students Act and the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act will generate a small amount of savings over 10 years.
Reports confirm the similarities between the House bill and its Senate companion. MSNBC has said the House bill is “very similar” to the Senate proposal. The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently noted the Senate compromise “closely resembles” the House-passed Smarter Solutions for Students Act. The Associated Press called the differences between the two proposals “relatively small.”
While I am happy with the legislation we will consider today, I am disappointed it took us so long to get to this point. Students and their families got roped into an all-too-tumultuous debate, and were forced to deal with the fallout when Congress was unable to reach an agreement to prevent subsidized Stafford loan interest rates from doubling on July 1st.
By getting politicians out of the business of setting student loan interest rates, the measure we consider today will protect students from future uncertainty. I applaud my colleagues on the other side of the aisle for finally recognizing this long-term, market-based proposal for what it is: a win for students and taxpayers.
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