Suzanne Bonamici

Smarter Solutions for Students Act (H.R. 1911) - May 23, 2013

Suzanne Bonamici
May 23, 2013— U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC
Congressional floor speech
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I rise today in opposition to the Making College More Expensive Act, a bill that will potentially make college more expensive for thousands of students and families across the country. Across America, students and graduates are trapped under a trillion-dollar mountain of student loan debt, and with this bill, the problem is about to get worse.

On July 1, interest rates will double for millions of students entering college. But this bill is not constructive solution; in fact, this bill will make the problem worse.

Rates are currently 3.4 percent, and they will double to 6.8 percent if we do nothing. But under this bill, the rates will be uncertain because they will be variable, and will be as high as 8.5 percent.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, this legislation will force students to pay thousands more in interest than if Congress simply does nothing and lets the rates double.

It's just not fair. On average, middle class families haven't seen a raise in years. Many are working harder for less money. They're struggling to buy everything from groceries to gas. They're relying more on the Federal student loans programs to finance the growing cost of college.

But instead of debating how much we should lower rates, instead of considering comprehensive reforms to address college costs, we're actually considering legislation that would be worse than if we did nothing at all.

Mr. Speaker, this is unproductive, unreasonable, and unacceptable. I urge my colleagues to vote "no."