Lipinski Votes to Stop Interest Rate Increase on Federal Student Loans, Urges Bipartisan Compromise

Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski voted for the Interest Rate Reduction Act, H.R. 4628, to prevent interest rates on federally subsidized student loans from doubling to 6.8 percent at a time when middle class families and students are already struggling to afford the cost of higher education.

"If Congress fails to act, interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans will double for more than 7 million students, costing them an additional $1,000," Rep. Lipinski said. "I voted for this bill because I believe we should be making it easier – not harder – to get a college education. Unfortunately, Washington has once again turned what should be a bipartisan effort into an ugly, pointless, and potentially protracted political battle. Talk about snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory. Certainly, I would have preferred to have voted on the House Democratic bill, which would prevent the rate hike and pay for it by eliminating subsidies for huge multinational oil companies. But House Republican leaders were not about to let that happen, and we were forced instead to vote on H.R. 4628. Now that the House has passed this bill, I will be encouraging my colleagues in both the House and Senate to call a truce and find a way to pay for keeping student loan interest rates low that both parties and the American people can support.

"A college degree is increasingly necessary in today’s competitive, global, high-tech economy. But the obstacles to getting and paying for one are rising, as tuition and fees have doubled over the last two decades, graduates now leave college with an average debt of more than $25,000, and total student loan debt nationwide has surpassed total credit card debt. As a former teacher, and the ranking member on the Research and Science Education Subcommittee, I have been working to make sure everyone has access to a quality education that prepares them for a successful career. That is what I am going to continue to do, while opposing efforts to politicize an issue that is enormously important to the middle class, which faces soaring costs for higher education and a weak economy that makes it difficult to find a good-paying job even for those who have earned a college degree."