Miller Statement on Republican Student Loan Legislation

Apr 25, 2012 Issues: Education, Higher Education


WASHINGTON – Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, issued the following statement on Republican legislation to address the fast approaching student loan interest rate hike.

“I commend House Republicans for reversing themselves on the pending student loan interest rate hike.  But I am deeply disappointed that Republicans propose extracting the price from women and children.  To take health care away from middle class and low-income families in order to keep interest rates from rising for middle class and low-income college students is simply wrong. It’s robbing Peter to pay Peter. The Republican bill strips away vital funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings for women. It strips funding for increasing child immunization and for screening newborns for things like hearing loss. In other words, the Republican bill will directly hurt women and children.

“As House and Senate Democrats have demonstrated, there are many good options available on how to protect students and their families, and protect the taxpayers.  The American people can see the policy choices here.  They are stark.  To pay for their bill, Republicans choose to take cancer prevention screenings away from women.  Democrats choose to end unnecessary tax subsidies for big oil companies.  If Republicans are really serious about helping our nation’s college students, then they should not be attacking the health care of those students, their mothers, or their sisters.”

Earlier today, House Democrats announced that they will introduce new legislation today that will both keep college students’ loan rates from doubling on July 1st and reduce the deficit. The House Democratic bill “Stop the Rate Hike Act of 2012” will keep interest rates on need-based student loans at 3.4 percent next year, saving borrowers an average of $1,000 in loan repayment costs. The bill is fully paid for by ending unwarranted tax subsidies to big oil and gas companies. Additional savings achieved by ending these subsidies to big oil will go to reduce the deficit.

Earlier this year, Democrats wrote to the Republican Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee John Kline (R-MN) asking the committee to take action.  Thus far, Republicans have taken no action.  Last week, House Republicans instead passed a $46 billion tax bill providing the wealthy with an average of $58,000 in new tax breaks next year.

More information on the July 1st increase in some student loan interest rates.

Read the “Stop the Rate Hike Act of 2012” bill here.