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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 2609, Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for the time.

A lot of American families are getting their financial aid notices for the new academic year. Much to their chagrin, they're opening these envelopes and finding out that the student loan that cost them 3.4 percent last year is going to cost them 6.8 percent starting this year. This is a huge problem for the millions of American families who borrow money to educate their children or themselves.

Now, what Congress has produced on this thus far is blame and finger-pointing. So here's what happened:

The Republican majority passed a bill on this floor that actually made the problem worse, that actually would cost more than just going up to the 6.8 percent by about $4,000 per student over a 5-year period. They actually poured kerosine on the fire. They sent that bill over to the Senate. The Senate rejected the bill and didn't pass anything else.

Now, I regret all of that, but, ladies and gentlemen, we have two choices in front of us today. We can quit on the issue and quit on America's students, or we can try to do something about it. I think we should try to do something about it. Here's the something:

Mr. Miller has a proposal that would keep the rates at 3.4 percent for 1 more year. It would pay for this and not add a dime to the deficit by closing a tax loophole that exists for fairly wealthy people. Our proposal is we should put that bill on the floor and take a vote on it. I hope that a majority of Members would vote ``yes'' to help American students in this way, but we're not even requiring that. We're simply saying that what we should do this afternoon on this floor is put that proposal up for a vote.

In a couple of minutes, we're going to take a vote on whether to take a vote on that question. Now, as is often the case around here, the rules are a little backward. Those who vote ``no'' on the next vote are voting in favor of bringing this up so that Congress can work its will. Those who vote ``yes'' are saying we should not do that.

The choice is clear: we either take a vote and try to fix this problem, or we quit on America's students and America's families. Let's do our job and take a vote on this bill.

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