U.S. Congressman Mike Ross of Prescott today voted against a Republican bill, H.R. 4628, the Interest Rate Reduction Act, that would extend the current 3.4 percent interest rate on federally subsidized student loans and pay for it by cutting breast and cervical cancer screenings and childhood immunizations. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives and must now be considered by the Senate.
Without action by Congress before the July 1, 2012 deadline, student loan interest rates will double, increasing from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. This increase would raise the overall cost of education for American students and families when many of them are still struggling as our economy continues to recover.
"In 2007, I voted for HR 2669, the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which originally cut student loan interest rates in half, and I support maintaining these low interest rates for struggling students trying to realize the American dream of earning a college education," said Ross. "However, it must be done responsibly and without partisan games. Unfortunately, Republican House Leadership has politicized an important issue that deserves bipartisan support. They are advancing partisan legislation that has no hope of becoming law and only provides relief to students by punishing women, children and all who would benefit from disease prevention and early detection. This is simply not fair or responsible; therefore, I could not support H.R. 4628."
H.R. 4628 pays for the extension of the 3.4 percent interest rate by eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund that was created to decrease healthcare costs by preventing disease through early detection and management, including screenings for breast and cervical cancer and early childhood immunizations.
"For America to continue its economic recovery and its ability to compete in today's global economy, it is more important than ever before that our nation's young people have a quality education. And, every American student deserves the opportunity to attend college as affordably as possible," said Ross. " It's time for all Members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, to put down their partisan talking points, stop worrying about the next election and work together to pass serious legislation that will continue to help America's college students. Our continued economic recovery is directly tied to the education of our children."