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Smarter Solutions for Students Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WALBERG. I thank the chairman.

Mr. Speaker, recently, I had the opportunity to meet with more than a dozen of Michigan's private colleges and university presidents. They're working hard, as you might guess, to address the rising costs of college education with their institutions and other institutions and with students who desire an education. At the same time, this House, under the direction of this committee, is working hard to address student loan interest rates in a way that brings long-term stability to the program.

The interest rate for federally subsidized Stafford loans is currently set to rise to 6.8 percent on July 1, 2013, matching it to the current unsubsidized Stafford loan rate. Other Federal loans have rates as high as 7.9 percent. Any further temporary extension of the current rate only kicks the can down the road. We've done this already. In politicians versus markets, markets will always produce better long-term results, and only those who refuse to deal with the truth of history and reality would say otherwise.

Congress has a unique opportunity to institute long-term, bipartisan reforms. Why not? We know in our hearts it's the right thing to do. Both President Obama and the House have favored market-based solutions to current rates. The Secretary of Education desires a long-term solution like this as well.

Instead of another short-term fix, the Smarter Solutions for Students Act provides a long-term solution to the student loan interest rate problem. It returns all Federal student loans, except Perkins loans, to a market-based interest rate and takes politics out of this part of our children's education.

The only way this plan won't work is if the liberal, progressive, central planners that control our government policy now are allowed to continue their failed approach. And it is a failed approach. Pass this bill.


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