Congressman John Tierney supported bipartisan legislation, H.R. 4348, the Moving Ahead for Progress in 21st Century Act, which includes a one-year extension of the 3.4% interest rate for new need-based Stafford Loans, and which continues important federal highway, transit and surface transportation programs through September 2014. Senate action is expected to soon follow, and the President is expected to sign this bill into law before July 1, when student loan interest rates are scheduled to double.
"Today's action is great news for more than 7 million middle-class students and their families. While this matter should have been resolved weeks, if not months ago, the most important thing is that we're getting it done and student loans interest rates will not double on July 1. Moving forward, I will continue my efforts to make sure the dream of going to college remains within the financial reach for students and families in my district and across the country," said Congressman John Tierney.
For months, Congressman Tierney has called on his Republican colleagues to pass common sense legislation to prevent the student loan interest rate from doubling. He has made numerous procedural attempts to force a vote on his bill, which is fully paid for by closing one of several tax loopholes for Big Oil, and spearheaded a letter with more than 100 lawmakers to Majority Leader Eric Cantor to bring responsible legislation to the House floor.
"Additionally, this bill authorizes highway and transit programs for more than two years which is expected to create or save more than 2 million jobs. Today Congress is making investments to expand and strengthen our transportation infrastructure through surface transportation projects that provide significant national and regional economic benefits and increase global competitiveness. These projects can facilitate the creation of jobs and mitigate congestion, which can, in turn, increase workforce productivity and enhance our quality of life," said Congressman John Tierney.
After first opposing an extension of the 3.4% interest rate for student loans, the Republicans conceded and agreed that something must be done to ensure that we are not placing undue burden on our students and middle-class families. Initially, House Republicans proposed paying for the student loan extension by cutting preventative health care initiatives like childhood immunizations and early cancer detection for women. In this bill, a compromise was reached that instead raises employer premiums paid to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) to insure workers' pensions.