Press Release

AFT: Don’t Solve Student Loan Problems by Robbing from Healthcare Law

For Release: 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Contact:

AFT Media Affairs
202/879-4458
press@aft.org

"It is unconscionable to solve the student loan problems by undercutting healthcare to women, children and others most in need of assistance."

WASHINGTON—Statement of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of the Interest Rate Reduction Act:

"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. 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."

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The AFT represents 1.6 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.