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Mr. COURTNEY. Mr. Chairman, as we talk about the issue of young people and debt, one thing is very clear: for 7 1/2 million young Americans who receive subsidized Stafford student loans, in 103 days the interest rate on those subsidized student loans is going to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.
We have before us now two budgets. One budget, the Democratic budget brought out by Mr. Van Hollen, protects the lower rate. The other budget, by the majority party, allows that rate to double to 6.8 percent.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York came out with a study just a few days ago which shows, in fact, that the student loan debt for young Americans has tripled over the last 8 years.
We have one budget which protects Pell Grants, which reduces the need to borrow money to pay for college, and we have the other budget from the majority party which freezes Pell Grants at $5,665 a year. Any parent like myself who has kids in college, any student who is in college who believes that over the next 10 years that tuition is going to stay flat obviously has no understanding of what the trends are and have been over the last 20 years in terms of State withdrawal for higher education support, and what's actually happening out there in the real world.
We have one budget which speaks to the monumental challenge of young people who are trying to improve themselves and get ready for the workplace of the future; we have another budget which is blind to those challenges and which will reduce college to a system of haves and have-nots.
We must invest in young people in the future. The Democratic budget, which protects the lower interest rate and the subsidized Stafford Student Loan program, understands that. The majority budget, which allows those rates to skyrocket, which freezes Pell Grants so that young families from poor backgrounds will not be able to afford the cost of college, again leaves this country basically behind in the competition for high-value jobs, for jobs that require skills, whether it's in science, technology, engineering and math or other areas of curriculum.
The fact of the matter is for young people, there is only one budget which speaks to them and addresses their needs--that's the Democratic budget that is brought out by Mr. Van Hollen.
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