Mr. WELCH. Madam Speaker, in 11 days, the interest rates on the Stafford student loans will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. It's unthinkable that Congress would allow this to happen. But here we are, only 11 days from the deadline, and no closer to a solution than we were months ago. This is one of those only-in-Washington situations. Nearly everyone agrees that we can't let these rates double. Doing so will be a real blow to the middle class and those trying to climb their way into the middle class. It would be bad for the economy, and it makes no practical sense. The Federal Government is borrowing at 1.6 percent. Yet Congress has been unable to extend the lower rate, and it is now only 11 days away.
Take Jessie from Norwich, who will be affected. Despite significant financial support from scholarships and her family, she's graduating from nursing school with over $150,000 in student loan debt. At age 26, Jessie worries that she'll not be able to start a family or put a down payment on a home because of this staggering debt. She worries that if interest rates increase, a bad situation will be even worse.
Madam Speaker, we have 11 days. It's time to get this done.