Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, if we don't act within the next 53 days, what we are going to see is the student loan interest rate double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent for more than 7.5 million students. I understand that basically that means a student would rack up an additional $1,000 in debt each year that the student interest rate stayed at 7 percent instead of 3 percent. The fact of the matter is, we have to do something about this.
Last week during our district office week, I went to Rutgers University, Mr. Speaker, and I met with students. They were in the middle of their final exams. They reject outright this Republican idea that we should take money from women's or children's health care, from the prevention fund, to pay for this. There has got to be a better way of doing it that we must approach on a bipartisan basis. But I heard the stories at Rutgers about the students and how much debt, crushing debt, they had. Not only those who had debt from their undergraduate days, but also many students who have to go on to graduate school or law school or medical school and accumulate even more debt.
We need to address this problem immediately with regard to the student interest rate. We have got to keep it low. But we also have to address the larger issue of college affordability over the long term. There has to be more money for student loans and for grants. College affordability is something that we need to address in a major way, Mr. Speaker.