U.S. Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) today joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers in supporting a transportation bill that will provide infrastructure investments in Rhode Island and prevent student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1st.
"I was pleased to support a bipartisan transportation bill that will provide $211 million in funding for infrastructure projects in Rhode Island over the next year, and I am delighted that Republicans and Democrats were able to reach an agreement that will prevent student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1st," said Cicilline.
Without Congressional action, federal funds for infrastructure projects were slated to expire in just two days. In addition, more than 7 million recipients of federally subsidized student loans would have seen their interest rates double from 3.4% to 6.8% on the same day -- potentially incurring $6.3 billion in repayment costs.
During recent months, Cicilline has consistently advocated for bipartisan solutions to address these problems. In April, the Rhode Island Congressman authored a letter, along with Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI), that urged Speaker John Boehner to allow the House an up-or-down vote on the bipartisan Senate transportation proposal.
Last February, the freshman lawmaker co-sponsored legislation to prevent an interest rate hike, and he later brought together students, parents, stakeholders and business leaders for a Call to Action at Rhode Island College in May to highlight the importance of keeping student loan interest rates low.
"This bill will reach President Obama's desk before the July 1st deadline because Republicans and Democrats ultimately put the interests of their constituents ahead of partisan politics," added Cicilline. "I will continue to work hard to ensure that Rhode Islanders enjoy the full benefits of this important agreement."
Earlier today, the House approved a conference report on H.R. 4348 by a vote of 373-52, and the Senate subsequently passed the same bill by a vote of 74-19. The legislation now awaits President Obama's signature.