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Ms. JACKSON LEE. I'm just delighted to be able to say that the leadership of the Senate realized that the Republican bill would have overwhelmed our young people.
I was just talking to someone just a few minutes ago, and they were saying we need to have a commitment that every person that graduates from college has a job. We should also have a commitment that every young person that wants to go to school and get a higher education should not be burdened with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt.
For over 2 years, our good friend, Mr. Courtney from Connecticut, Democrats, the Education Committee, and Mr. Miller have been begging on behalf of the American children to not cause them to pay this enormous amount but to hold the interest rates for middle class families and working families at 3.4 percent. And we struggled. There were many discussions in the United States Senate. And the reason why they continue to struggle is because they wanted to make sure that the victory came out for those young people of working parents and middle class parents. That's why we're here today--because they held out and we held out. Now we're glad to be in a bipartisan mode. But it's important to note that this was a struggle.
If we pass this bill and get it on the President's desk, the 3.6 percent or so will be held. As we go forward over the years, we'll have a measured increase. Not a high increase to market rates or rates higher than that, but a measured increase or 3, 4, or 6 percent. And then some 5 years out, when it reaches about 7 percent, we'll have the ability as a Congress to come back and look. Because we should not burden our students to the point where they cannot get an education.
We all are created equal. Maybe education is not written in the Constitution, but certainly the opportunity for the pursuit of happiness. Therefore, the opportunity for education must be protected.
This is a crucial difference between the bipartisan Senate bill of $11,000. The current law right now is $14,000. And what the House Republican bill passed was almost $17,000.
Mr. Speaker, this is a relief. This is to be applauded. And I'm delighted that we have finally come to our senses.
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