Providing for Consideration of H.R. 1911, Smarter Solutions for Students Act

Floor Speech

By:  Rush Holt, Jr.
Date: May 23, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlelady from New York, a good friend; and I rise in opposition to the rule and the underlying bill. This comes down to an important question of American domestic policy: how important is it to us as a country to make college possible and accessible for students so they can improve their lives and improve our country.

Some of the great historic moments of American policy, the creation of the land grant colleges, the GI Bill, providing student loans, were directed toward increasing access to higher education. And today, the House will vote on a bill that would reverse decades of progress. It would, in effect, transform the Federal Government into a greedy Wall Street bank, charging students punitive and wildly variable interest rates while banking billions in profits. Yes, the government would reap profits derived from students and recent students.

The authors of this bill see this as government revenue. Instead of collecting taxes, they do it through a back door, trying to pay down the deficit on the backs of students.

So today we have a choice: Do we make college more expensive for our low-income and middle class students? For me, the clear answer is ``no.'' It's wrong. It's shortsighted. It's not right for students. It's not right for families, and it's not right for our economy.

The Rules Committee could have given us a bill to lock in low rates for student loans, in the national interest, not to collect interest from students. But instead, they want to balance the budget on the backs of students and recent students.

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