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Congresswoman Bonamici Speaks About Necessity of Stopping Impending Student Loan Interest Rate Increase

April 27, 2012
Press Release

This July, the interest rate on federally subsidized undergraduate student loans is set to jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. The interest rate hike will cause many students to see their debt burden increase by an average of $1,000 just this year. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1) ardently opposes such an increase, but today voted against the “Interest Rate Reduction Act” (H.R. 4628), calling it “the right thing to do, but the wrong way to do it.”

“It is critical that Congress enact legislation immediately to prevent this increase and support the educational aspirations of our students,” Congresswoman Bonamici said. “Unfortunately, the bill brought to the House floor today to halt the increase would do so at the expense of women’s and children’s health.”

H.R. 4628 would offset the costs of keeping interest rates low by cutting the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a program that helps pay for breast cancer screenings, childhood immunizations, and other lifesaving health services. Alternatively, the “Stop the Rate Hike Act of 2012” (H.R. 4816) – cosponsored by Congresswoman Bonamici – will offset the costs of helping students pay for college by closing tax loopholes for the biggest oil companies.

“We need to pay to keep the interest rates low in a way that makes sense, not by taking away access to critical health care services for low and middle-income women and children.” Congresswoman Bonamici said. “There is no better way to invest in our nation and our long-term economy than by investing in our youth and their education. I will continue fighting to keep student loan interest rates low and higher education opportunities available and accessible for all.”

To see Congresswoman Bonamici’s floor speech regarding today’s vote, click here.