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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 4480, Domestic Energy and Jobs Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. TIERNEY. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

At the end of this month, the student Federal loan interest rate is set to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. It's an urgent deadline for more than 7 million American students and more than 177,000 students across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It's an urgent deadline for students that I met with at Middlesex College all the way through to Endicott College in my district and elsewhere. These students are working many jobs. They're still carrying thousands of dollars in student debt, and they're deeply concerned about the doubling of the rate that will occur on July 1.

Madam Speaker, this is urgent deadline for House Democrats. We've been on top of this issue for many, many months. Our colleague, Mr. Courtney of Connecticut, introduced legislation establishing a permanent fix back in January. Our colleagues, Mr. Miller of California and Mr. Hinojosa of Texas, sent a letter to Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman Mr. Kline in February asking that the question be taken before the committee to prevent the student loan interest hike.

It's unfortunate, Madam Speaker, that the majority in the House of Representatives does not appear to understand or share this urgency. There are 10 days left in June, and we're only scheduled to be in session for 5 of them. As of right now, taking action to stop the doubling of the student loan interest rates is still not on the House's legislative agenda between now and the end of the month. In fact, addressing the issue was not part of the majority leader's summer legislative agenda, and it was reported that Speaker Boehner privately called the issue a phony issue.

So let's make no mistake about it. This is nothing phony for the millions of students who will be impacted and will see their rates double in July.

Madam Speaker, since the House majority doesn't appear willing to move forward on this issue, we have to take this action today to defeat the previous question so the rule can be amended to allow for consideration of my bill, the Stop the Rate Hike Act of 2012. That bill continues the current need-based Stafford loan rate at 3.4 percent for 1 year and offsets the cost by closing a tax subsidy for the oil industry, just one tax subsidy, one that they weren't originally intended to benefit from at any rate. I think that's a fair and reasonable plan for eliminating an unjustified giveaway to a hugely profitable industry so millions of our constituents do not see an increase in their student loans.

I urge my colleagues to defeat the previous question so the House can consider that bill and stop the student loan interest rate hike.


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