By Jennifer Giammanco | 0 comments
Student loan interest rates will double on July 1st of this year if Republicans continue to prevent the College Cost Reduction and Access Actfrom extending another year. Currently, the interest rate for Federal student loans is at 3.4%, exactly half of the 6.8% interest rate that was in place before the act was passed in 2007 under the Bush Administration. There was a clear bipartisan unification in 2007 as both parties understood the necessity for the reduction of this interest rate to provide access to higher education for more than 7 million Americans. If the cut is not extended, students will be paying more than the mortgage interest rates of many Americans and will ultimately pay on average over $1,000 extra a year in interest. But Republicans will only allow the extension at the cost of women and children. The problem for Congress is how to pay for the $6 billion cost it will take to continue the interest rate cut. Obama has been visiting colleges through out America to inform students of the urgency to push their congressmen and women to extend the cuts.How many people can afford to pay an extra $1,000 when youre a student, just because Congress cant get its act together? Obama said. This is a no-brainer... Get it done. Regardless of the seemingly lethargic movement of Congress on this important issue, there have been a couple proposed solutions. However, Republicans have used this issue as an excuse to attack women and children. The party has only recently put the student debt issue on their agenda after Obama traveled around the country to inform students on the issue. The Republicans have realized the young adult vote (18-24) has been increasingly important to candidates and will have a big impact on the upcoming 2012 presidential election and will do whatever they can to promote favorable publicity to this age group. They have seen Obamas efforts and now express a new interest in promoting the student loan interest rate cuts. The only proposed legislative solution that Republicans will support is to pay for the $6 billion cost via the Public Health and Prevention Fund. This fund, created in 2010 under the Obama Administration, is intended to invest in public health and disease prevention by providing breast and cervical cancer screening, child immunizations, and other important preventative health benefits. Loosing $6 billion will severely impact the effectiveness of the program and will deny families the preventative care they deserve. The GOP has the incentive to pit women against students to continue their war on women and ultimately cause serious negative publicity for the Obama Administration. Another option to provide funding to the interest rate extension would be the Stop Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Actproposed by U.S. Rep. John Tierney, D-Salem and other Democrats. This act proposes to pay for the interest rate extensions by closing a loophole in taxes for wealthy oil companies. It seems a fair trade off for the wealthiest companies of the country to be held accountable for their tax breaks and help the 7 million students who will be adversely affected by the doubled interest rate rather than prevent women and children from receiving the care they deserve. However, Republicans refuse to support the Stop Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act and hold the wealthy accountable because of the Taxpayer Prevention Pledgesigned by 95% of Republicans last year. The Pledge was written by Grover Norquist, an American lobbyist, who is known for his conservatism and the creation of Americans for Tax Reform to oppose all increases in taxation. By signing this Pledge, Republicans promise never to vote for legislation that will combat tax breaks for the wealthy including the Stop Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act. Republicans have pledged to protect the wealthy oil companies and the 1%. Since Obama has been elected in 2008, the GOP has made it their mission to wreak havoc in congress and publicly to undermine Obama to prevent him from making the changes needed to promote equality and care for all Americans at the expense of the Middle Class. We need to tell Republicans to stop holding the Middle Class hostage just so they can damage Obamas reputation. Join our War For Women online training series to find out the ways you canpush for a solution to extend the Student Loan interest rate cuts without harming women and children. It is imperative that women, children and students do not pay for the dysfunctions of Congress. NO one in this country should choose between a cervical cancer screening or access to higher education.
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