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Mr. TIERNEY. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, it is imperative that this House take action to stop the need-based student loan interest rates from doubling at the end of June. If we defeat the previous question, the House will have an opportunity to take up a bill that I have filed and introduced that will keep those interest rates at 3.4 percent for 1 year.
My Democratic colleagues and I recognize the importance of being fiscally responsible, so our bill is completely paid for. We pay for it by ending unnecessary tax subsidies for big oil and gas companies. These are the same companies that took home $80 billion in profits last year. Exxon pocketed nearly $4.7 million every hour.
We have to make choices here in Congress. Our side of the aisle believes that it is a fair and reasonable choice to eliminate an unjustified subsidy to hugely profitable industries so that 7 million students, including some 177,000 in my Commonwealth of Massachusetts alone, will not see an increase in their student loans. Our side of the aisle believes that encouraging middle class students and their families to be able to pay for college educations should be a bigger priority than continuing tax subsidies for Big Oil.
Now, the other side of the aisle has been tremendously late to this issue. I know the presumptive nominee for the Presidential race has changed his mind and has come around to believing that this is important--a practice that he does on a regular basis. They've come around to the side of knowing that we should keep these interest rates low, and we welcome that; but the fact of the matter is that they have decided to make the wrong choice in how we're going to pay for it.
The bill that is expected to come to the House floor tomorrow includes a short-term fix for the student loan issue, but it will do it at the expense of women and children. What is it with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle with the knee-jerk reaction of, every time they have to do something, they take a gratuitous swipe at women's health benefits and women's health choices? Their bill would end funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings for women, and their bill would end funding for child immunizations. Their bill makes the wrong and the reckless choice.
I urge my colleagues to defeat this motion so that we can consider my bill for a vote on the floor, a bill that makes the right choice, that makes sure we keep the rates low, that makes sure the oil companies get rid of that subsidy they no longer need or should have.
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