Mr. COURTNEY. Mr. Speaker, 1 year ago tomorrow marks the anniversary of the Federal Reserve Board reporting that student loan debt exceeded $1 trillion. What that means for the average student loan borrower in America is a debt level of $27,000. That's just the average. Many students graduate, sadly, with debt levels of six figures.
Despite the fact that we have that looming burden on middle class families all across the country, in 67 days the Stafford student loan program interest rate will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, adding even further interest debt to students unless Congress acts.
Mr. Speaker, I've introduced H.R. 1595, the Student Loan Relief Act, with my colleague in the Senate, Senator Jack Reed--we have 95 cosponsors in the House--which will extend the lower rate for 2 years and give this House time to come up with a comprehensive solution for higher education access and affordability, which, again, extends back to giving students better information for when they enter college and helping those who graduated in terms of allowing them to refinance.
It is time, however, to pass the extension of the lower rate. Let's not go backwards. Let's help middle class families all across America.