Congresswoman Suzan DelBene signed onto a discharge petition today to force an up-or-down vote on key legislation that would stop the doubling of the interest rate for subsidized Stafford loans on July 1. The bill, which DelBene is co-sponsoring, would freeze the interest rate on these loans at 3.4% for the next two years -- giving Congress time to enact comprehensive student loan reform as part of a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
"There are only a few weeks left before student loan interest rates double, making college more expensive for millions of students and their families. As the level of student debt increases and the burden grows heavier every year, the long-term health of our economy is threatened by putting college further out of reach for more of our students," said DelBene. "Congress must act now. This discharge petition will allow an immediate up or down vote on legislation I've sponsored to freeze interest rates, saving our students from the unnecessary and harmful doubling of rates that would come into effect on July 1."
A discharge petition requires the House to consider a piece of legislation once a majority of Members of Congress (218) have signed it. Democrats are launching this discharge petition to force action on this broadly supported legislation because House Leadership has refused to move forward on the bill. The Student Loan Relief Act was introduced on April 17, 2013, and has over 150 co-sponsors, but House leaders have failed to schedule a hearing or a mark-up on the bill.