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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 5326, Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013; Waiving Requirement of Clause 6(a) of Rule XIII with Respect to Consideration of Certain Resolutions; and for Other Purposes

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. TIERNEY. I thank the gentleman for acknowledging this.

Americans need to know that their family member is going to be able to afford a college degree, whether it is a 2-year degree or a 4-year degree. Too many people are afraid that their child is not going to be able to get through college. Too many students don't think they can meet the cost of it. And that's what we need to deal with.

Public dollars for schools, Pell Grants, lower interest rates, work-study, those are things that we've done together to allow people to have the opportunity of college so that everybody can try to achieve their goal, to have an equal opportunity to achieve those goals with things we have done together in the past.

We have been helping businesses find very educated and skilled people to drive our economy. It doesn't matter if you earn $20,000, $30,000, $60,000 or if you are suddenly unemployed because you lost a job. It feels the same if your kids are pushed out of school if they can't afford to pay for it. Getting a degree really makes a difference for many people, whether or not they're going to be able to get a good job. And helping them do that is something we've all decided to invest in.

Carrying a huge loan debt, it may mean that you have to delay starting a family, delay buying a house, taking a job that you otherwise wouldn't take. Pell Grants, work-study, lower interest rates, all of those things for higher education, one of the opportunities that we all helped to create so that people that have long been benefiting from special favors, from tax loopholes, corporations and people that are extremely wealthy, they need to do their part. That's simply what we're asking them to do.

We can keep this country moving forward if we can invest in our future. What we want to do is find a way and make a time that those who have benefited so extraordinarily realize that they too have to step up to the plate and join the rest of us to help pay for those opportunities to make sure that we can move forward.

This is a good time to invest in America and Americans. We have 250 tax expenditures in the Tax Code. Those are special tax rates, special favors, credits, deductions. Our friends on the other side of the aisle apparently think that's what America should borrow for, that that is what they should borrow for and pay corporations that made $130 billion last year, to give them more money instead of helping people get through college and get a degree that they need to get a good job.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. I yield the gentleman 1 additional minute.

Mr. TIERNEY. I filed a bill last week that would have lowered the interest rates, back at a time when the Republican budget would have let it double, back when the Speaker and the chairman of the Education Committee and the second-ranking Member of the Republican Party all voted to keep it at 6.8 percent. I filed a bill, and I found a way to pay for it. It was paid for by taking one tax credit from Big Oil that made $130 billion last year, one tax credit that they weren't originally intended to have even benefited from but had managed to sort of squeak their way into eventually.

So there's a way to pay for it. Now, if you didn't agree with it, the Republicans didn't agree with it, then they could have found one that wasn't noxious, one that everybody could agree on. But instead, they finally came around to deciding that they wanted to lower the interest rates because they couldn't take the political heat when the President was out there talking to American families.

And American parents and American students said, What are you doing? Why are you borrowing and giving oil companies $130 billion of profits plus tax credits when we could be having a way to make sure that our family members get the education they need to get a job and move forward in their lives?

So the Republicans finally came along and said, Okay, we will lower the interest rates. We can't take the heat. But we are going to find a poison pill. We are going to look at what the President has planned to do with preventive funds, which are screenings for breast cancer, screenings for cervical cancer, immunizations for children; and we'll use that.

I will suggest to my friends on the other side, stop waiting for the Senate. Use some leadership. Come across the aisle and look at those 250 tax expenditures. Let's find one we can agree on, not wait for the Senate and not blame it on them. Let's move forward on that. Stop being so partisan and stop being so ideological. And let's move forward.


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