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Public Statements

Student Loan Debt

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. WELCH. Mr. Speaker, the other day, I received a letter from a constituent, Lana Kunkel. Like many Vermonters, she is concerned about the doubling of Stafford student loan interest rates scheduled for July 1.

This is very personal for her. She used the Stafford loan to get a good education and start a career as a nurse. She is now a contributing member of the community. She is also the granddaughter of former U.S. Vermont Representative and Senator Bob Stafford, for whom the Stafford student loan program is named. Here is what she had to say about her grandfather:

I know my grandfather's intention for these loans was accessibility and not profit. I understand that times are tough and people are looking everywhere, but this is just not right. My grandfather was known as a gentle giant, but if he were alive today, I think he would oppose this with force.

Mr. Speaker, Bob Stafford knew that a higher education was the clearest path to the middle class in this country--and he was a good Republican. We should not let the interest rates double. There is no justification for having these interest rates go from 3.4 to 6.8 percent. We have 30 days to act.

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