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Public Statements

The Impending Student Loan Interest Rate Hike

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. REED. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about an issue I deeply care about, and that issue is the affordability and ability of students across America to get a college degree.

Mr. Speaker, as we face this impending student interest loan cliff on July 1, I want to share with you and with the American public a personal story.

I'm the youngest of 12. I have eight older sisters, three older brothers, and my mother and father made a commitment to each other that each and every one of us would get some sort of college degree or advanced degree.

My father passed when I was 2, and there were six of us left in our household that my mother had to raise on her own. I went to college, went to law school, and I watched in her eyes the fulfillment of that promise that she and my dad made to each and every one of us.

Now, not all of my siblings went to law school. One got a vocational degree cutting hair, who now works in Arizona. I have the law degree, and there's a whole mix in between.

As we deal with the issue of student loan interest, we need to make sure that we stand for the students and that we stand for the next generation, because a college degree and a higher educational pursuit will arm those young men and women for generations and empower them to control their own destiny in their own hands.

So I come today on my side of the aisle and say to my colleagues, thank you for joining us in passing a bill in the House that would avert the interest rate spike that will be coming up on July 1. I ask my colleagues to join me and to demand that the Senate take action.

As you see, Mr. Speaker, the Senate has failed to pass a piece of legislation in the Senate to avert this fiscal cliff to our students across America. To me, Mr. Speaker, that's just not right. That's just not fair. We need to do better. And what we need to do is to pass a reform out of this body and out of this Congress that takes the student out of this political theater that has become the student loan interest spike every year that we have to deal with.

The proposal in the House, to me, makes sense. It's a commonsense, market-based approach that will lower interest rates on 70 percent of the loans that students receive in going to college and advanced degrees.

I ask the Senate and I ask my colleagues to continue to join us to put pressure on the Senate to say enough is enough. We care about students. Let's address this issue so that they don't see that interest rate spike that is coming over the horizon and say to the White House, Sign this legislation once and for all that removes the students from the political debate that this issue has become.

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