04/27/2012

House vote on student loan rates undercuts healthcare

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Rather than solving the problem of rising student loan debt, the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives chose an unconscionable approach on April 27 by pushing through the Interest Rate Reduction Act that cuts healthcare to women, children and others most in need of assistance.

"Higher education is a down payment on a lifetime of success and future earnings, so we are glad the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives finally decided to support keeping the interest rate on federally subsidized Stafford student loans from doubling," AFT president Randi Weingarten says. "However, the Republican House majority chose a scheme to pay for the cost of keeping the interest rate at 3.4 percent by robbing billions of dollars from the prevention and public health fund in the Affordable Care Act.

"It is unconscionable to solve the student loan problems by undercutting healthcare to women, children and others most in need of assistance. A wiser option to prevent higher loan rates would be to end unfair tax loopholes that benefit wealthy individuals and corporations.

"College students are graduating with record levels of debt and facing a precarious job market, so it hardly could be a worse time to raise student loan interest rates. Snatching public funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings, child immunizations and community health centers, while refusing to require wealthy individuals and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes, is just plain wrong." [AFT press release]

April 27, 2012