Moments after Senate Republicans blocked a vote on legislation to keep student loan interest rates at 3.4% for the next year, Congressman John Tierney took to the House floor to call on the GOP leadership to pass his common sense bill, the Stop the Rate Hike Act of 2012. Two weeks ago, House Republicans refused to support Tierney's bill, which is fully paid for by closing one of several tax loopholes for Big Oil that was not even intended for that industry, and instead passed legislation, which is paid for by cutting funding to preventive care for women and children, and which President Obama vowed to veto and the Senate would not consider passing.
"By refusing to consider fair and responsible legislation to keep student loan interest rates at 3.4%, Republican Leadership in Washington, DC is once again holding our middle class families hostage. First, Speaker Boehner prevents a vote on my bill that keeps student loan interest rates at 3.4% for the next year by ending a tax subsidy for Big Oil, and instead passes legislation that pits educational opportunities for our students against health care for our families. Now Senate Republicans won't even allow a vote on legislation to keep interest rates down. I join my colleagues, the students I continue to meet with and hear from, and families across our communities, to call on Congressional Republicans to end this partisanship. If they insist on protecting subsidies for oil companies that made huge profits last year, I urge them to work with us to eliminate one or more of the 250 expenditures in the tax code so we can pay for this bill. It is imperative we get this done," Congressman Tierney said.
For months leading up to this point, Congressman Tierney and Democrats on the House Education and the Workforce Committee urged House Republicans to begin debate on legislation to prevent the student loan interest rate from doubling on July 1. Instead of taking responsible action, the GOP ignored the issue and actually approved a budget proposal which would have allowed the rate to double. It was only after public pressure peaked a few weeks ago, that House Republicans appeared to have changed their tune to support keeping the rate down. Unfortunately, when they finally took action it was to jam through unpopular and irresponsible legislation.