House Sends Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act to President’s Desk

Jul 31, 2013 Issues: Education

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, today voted to support H.R. 1911, the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013, which passed the House by a vote of 392 -31.  H.R. 1911 passed the Senate on July 24, 2013, by a vote of 81-18.

H.R. 1911 will tie student loan interest rates to the market, taking away the uncertainty that comes with allowing Congress to arbitrarily set rates. This mirrors the Smarter Solutions for Students Act that was passed by the House in May.

Thompson, a member of the House Education & Workforce Committee and original cosponsor of H.R. 1911, delivered floor remarks in support of the measure. 

Thompson Floor Statement on H.R. 1911, as prepared:
 
“Mr. Speaker, as an original cosponsor of H.R. 1911, the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act, I rise in support of the Senate Amendment, to H.R. 1911.
 
President Obama, as part of his budget request, proposed returning student loan interest rates to a system of market-based variable rates tagged to the 10-year Treasury note. As a member of the Education & Workforce Committee, I can attest the committee staff and members worked in good faith to meet the President’s request, developing a bill that could pass the House and promote certainty for student borrowers.
 
The House moved to pass the bill in May, reasserting that access to education for so many of America’s young people should not be subject to annual political battles. Unfortunately, the Senate chose politics over students and delayed passage of legislation until last week.
 
The positive is that H.R. 1911 is a complete departure from what had become an annual debate within Congress on how to set the rates for student loans. This measure modifies how interest rates on most federal student loans are set, returning to a system under which interest rates are tied to the market — but with rates fixed for the period of the loan. It would apply retroactively to any loans taken out by students since July 1st, when the 3.4% interest rate on Stafford Loans rose to 6.8%.
 
This bill will transition the student loan system to one that is more predictable and affordable – one that protects both the taxpayer and students.

We have a responsibility to America's youth and students such as those seeking opportunity at Penn State, Pitt, Lock Haven, Clarion, Edinboro, Juniata, Dubois Business College, and South Hills, to put forward a long term plan for college affordability.
 
The bill is good first step and will offer students the lowest possible cost for higher education while ensuring the solvency of these important loan programs.
 
I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense bipartisan legislation.  I yield back.”

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