On Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren slammed Republicans for blocking a bill that would give Americans relief on their student loan debt.
Student loan interest rates are set to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1 unless Congress acts. Warren has introduced a short-term plan that would drop rates on federal loans for needy students to near zero for a year, and Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI), and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) have co-sponsored a bill that would freeze interest rates at 3.4 percent for two years. But the GOP has other ideas. Yesterday, Senate Republicans blocked passage of Reed and Harkin’s bill, arguing instead for plans that Republicans in both chambers have introduced that would increase interest rates on student loans.
Warren suggested the GOP was morally bankrupt for blocking the student loan proposals. Here is part of her speech:
There are strong proposals on the table that would keep interest rates low while Congress has time to work out a permanent solution. And yet, Congress fails to act. Why? Two issues: money and values.
First, money. Some have argued that we can’t afford to keep interest rates low. But let’s be clear: Right now the federal government is making a profit from our students. Just last month, the Congressional Budget Office calculated that the government will make $51 billion this year off student loans…
[Yet] two weeks ago, House Republicans passed a plan that would produce higher profits off the backs of our college students. And here in the Senate, Senator Coburn has introduced a similar bill that makes student loans more profitable…
The second issue is values….Have we become a people who will support our big banks with nearly free loans, while we crush our kids who are trying to get an education?…This is morally wrong, and we must put a stop to it.