Floor Updates

Murray, Brown-OH, Klobuchar, Franken

Student Loan bill (S. 2343)

May 08 2012

10:48 AM

Senator Murray: (10:18 AM)
  • Spoke on the Student Loan bill.
    • SUMMARY "We are here today because unless Congress acts, interest rates for many of our students, over 100,000 of them in my home state of Washington, is going to double in just 55 days. On July 1, the law we passed that held rates on federally subsidized Stafford loans to 3.4% will end, and rates are going to jump overnight to 6.8%. That is going to add $1,000 to the cost of loans for these young people. And it's going to be another huge strain for students and families who are already fighting to afford college and still struggling in this tough economy. This isn't just an abstract issue for me. For me it's very personal. Pell grants and student loans were what allowed my six brothers and sisters and I to go to college when my dad got sick and had to leave his job. They were what made college affordable for us, and they were what allowed each one of us to pursue careers and give back to our communities. Because our government was there for us at a very tough time for us, those seven kids in my family grew up to be a firefighter, a lawyer, a computer programmer, a sports writer, a homemaker, a middle school teacher and a United States senator. Pretty good investment by our country We should be investing in our future and trying to get more high school students to continue their education. We should not be doubling interest rates on a critical loan program that students count on. It does not make sense. The Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike bill that is before us is a commonsense measure that will prevent a rate hike on more than 7.4 million college students, and it pays for it by closing a tax loophole that allows certain wealthy professionals to dodge paying their fair share of taxes."

Senator Brown-OH: (10:24 AM)
  • Spoke on the Student Loan bill.
    • SUMMARY "We have no business letting the interest rate double. The vote that will take place in less than an hour gives us an opportunity to help students in a huge way. The average Ohio graduate of a four-year university has a $27,000 student debt. If we're going to pile more money on that debt by allowing the interest rate to go from 3.4% to 6.8%, it means that student is less likely to be able to buy a house, less likely to be able to probably start a family, less likely to be able to start a business. It just saps wealth from our community. If we can keep this interest rate at 3.4%, it will pay dividends much more than the cost of this ... This was a bipartisan arrangement. Back in 2007 when Senator Klobuchar and I were in our first year in the Senate, President Bush signed legislation brought forward, passed by a democratic Senate and democratic House with Republican support So broad bipartisan support to lock in 3.4% for five years. Why are people making it partisan now? The fact is we should pass this legislation today. We should pay for it in a way by closing these tax loopholes that, call this the Newt Gingrich-John Edwards loophole in their private-sector lives have been legally been able to avoid tens of thousands of dollars in taxes, lobbying firms, consulting firms all have used this loophole. Governor Romney wanted to close this loophole when he was governor of Massachusetts. It is something we should move forward on. Put the partisanship aside. Pass this. This is good for individual students. Like the G.I. bill after World War II. It was good for millions of individual students and look what it did for our society as a whole. It made us a richer country, more prosperous country, more egalitarian country. What's not to like about that. That's why we should pass this legislation."

Senator Klobuchar: (10:27 AM)
  • Spoke on the Student Loan bill.
    • SUMMARY "These students are working hard and we must make sure they are able to complete their college degrees. Tuition and fees have been rising faster than household income over the last two decades and it is becoming harder to afford these costs. We know that student loan debt has reached record levels. College seniors owed an average of $25,000 in student loan debt graduating in 2010, with a total loan debt reaching $1 trillion. This is what we're dealing with, I know when I had student loans, I paid them off ... But never in these kind of amounts that our students today are facing. And while it's normally a good thing to be above average, my moment state is unfortunately above average in student loan debt. We rank fourth in the nation. The average Minnesota student graduates from college with more than $29,000 in loan debt. As college costs skyrocket and student loan debt climbs, we have to consider what this means for students today and what effect this will have on our future. At a time when our global economy, as I mentioned, demands more than our workforce, we must focus on the foundation of our future prosperity. That is education, particularly in science, technology, engineering and math. And to advance in those fields, you need at least a two-year degree or a four-year degree. We know that. We must do more to expand higher-education opportunities and make college more affordable for students. It is one of the best investments we can make in the long-term success for America and that's because education just doesn't pay off for students. It also pays off for our country in the form of a skilled workforce and competitive economy."

Senator Franken: (10:36 AM)
  • Spoke on the Student Loan bill.
    • SUMMARY "Nationally student loan debt is over $1 trillion now. It's higher than credit card debt. And over 60% of the class of 2010 graduates with outstanding student loans, college graduates. In Minnesota, we're fourth in the country in the level of debt that college graduates take with them. It's $29,000. This is hurting us as a nation, in competition with other countries. It wasn't too many years ago when the United States was number one in the world in the percentage of its adult population that had graduated from college. Now we're something like 16th. That's going to hurt us. We have to do something about student debt You have to graduate from college or at least get a two-year degree to get a good job in this country, a good-paying job. In the next seven years 70% of jobs in Minnesota will require some type of postsecondary credential. Yet right now only 40% of working-age Minnesotans have one. If we are going to compete with other countries, we got to do something about this. What can we do? We got to get long-term costs under control. There is a lot to do there. But in the short term - that's the long term. But in the short term, at least we should do no harm. On July 1, Stafford loans are set to go to 6.8% ...This legislation is written in 2007. It said it would double. What the interest rates have done from 2007 to now, they've shot down. This makes no sense whatsoever. This is going to affect over 7.5 million students nationwide, over 200,000 students in Minnesota f we fail to take action, this will cost every student in Minnesota about $1,000 in increased loans for each year of college over the cost of their lives. That's money. That's real money."