Error loading information. You can try again.


a speech in Congress by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), on

Visit CapitolWords for more context.
Full Text Below, adapted from the Congressional Record.

Just for a moment, let me raise another pending issue which is of critical importance. In 40 days, as I think many of us recognize, student borrowing rates for college will double unless we act. We have seen both sides of the aisle--colleagues from both sides--come down and say we cannot let this happen. Well, we cannot let it happen. That means we have to take action to prevent the doubling of interest rates on Stafford loans.

Unfortunately, last week we had a series of budget votes, which most of my Republican colleagues supported, which would have, if they had passed, mandated the doubling of the student loan interest rate. So I think we have to move away from this debate and actually pass legislation which would prevent the doubling of student loans by July 1. I hope we can do it promptly, certainly before July 1.

Also, I hope we find an effective offset. What the Republicans have suggested is using the Prevention Fund. The President made it clear he would veto the legislation if it included that offset. Also, what should be clear that using resources to prevent disease is not only helpful to the American public, but it is also probably one of the most practical ways we are going to be able to begin to bend that very important cost curve going forward.

This Prevention Fund is going to help everyone, but it is going to particularly help middle-income families who are struggling with medical bills, who are struggling to find insurance, the same families who are struggling to pay the cost of college for their children. It makes no sense to me to take from one program that will largely benefit working families to pay for another program that will benefit working families.

We have an offset which is an egregious tax loophole that allows lobbyists, financiers, et cetera, to create subchapter S corporations to essentially avoid their payroll and Medicare taxes. I think that is an appropriate way to pay for this support for students' education. If there are other ways beyond the prevention fund, I certainly am happy to listen to them. If there are other principled ways to avoid doubling the interest rate for student loans, let's talk about them. Let's get them on the Senate floor and let's debate them.

I yield the floor