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Public Statements

Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, while the Republican alternative was definitely better than the Democrat-endorsed proposal, at the end of the day, neither option presented a long term answer to the impending rise in student loan interest rates.

In 2007, Congress passed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which I opposed. This legislation used a stepped reduction of interest rates for subsidized Stafford loans, from 6.8 percent to the current 3.4 percent. Also as a part of this law, these rates are scheduled to reset to the original 6.8 percent on July 1. So for five years, we have known this day was coming. A one-year extension of the current interest rate is merely a six billion dollar temporary fix. It would simply postpone finding an actual solution to the problem of college affordability. Congress has gotten too comfortable with band aid fixes: payments to physicians, the Highway bill, and flood insurance being recent examples. It is because of increased government intervention that we continually find ourselves in this predicament. With every government takeover, whether it is education, health care, or the EPA, the result is less competition, less consumer choice, and less innovation.

Mr. President, I understand the importance and value of a good education. My wife was a teacher, and my two daughters became teachers as well, one even at a university. I also commend the efforts of all students who strive to achieve a higher education and improve their lives, especially those struggling through financial burdens. However, we owe it to these students to address the problem, not just put a band aid on it.


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