WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), a former University of California Regent and California State University Trustee who represents UC Davis, has joined an action to force an up-or-down vote on critical legislation that would prevent the subsidized Stafford loan interest rate from doubling on July 1st.
The bill would freeze the interest rate on these loans at 3.4 percent for the next two years.
To date, 194 members of Congress have signed the discharge petition to allow a vote on H.R. 1595, the Student Loan Relief Act of 2013.
“If Congress fails to stop the Stafford loan rate from doubling by July 1st, it will take money out of the pockets of working families and students, including 11,000 students at UC Davis. Those stopping this vote from happening should be ashamed,” Congressman Garamendi said. “We live in a country where half of the children from wealthy families complete college, but only one in ten children from the poorest families are able to get their degree. The Stafford loan is a vital lifeline for those trying to bridge the achievement gap, making the American Dream more accessible to all.”
Democrats are launching this discharge petition to force action on this broadly supported legislation because the Republican leadership has refused to move forward on the bill.
The Student Loan Relief Act was introduced by Rep. Joe Courtney on April 17, 2013 and has 161 cosponsors, but the Republican leadership has failed to schedule a hearing or a mark-up on the bill.
A discharge petition requires the House to consider the legislation once a majority of Members of Congress (218) have signed it.
On May 23, House Republicans passed H.R. 1911, the “Making College More Expensive Act,” a student loan bill that was even worse for students and families than allowing interest rates to double – with even higher interest payments by students and families.
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, under their bill, students who borrow the maximum amount of subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans over five years would pay nearly $2,000 more in interest costs than if interest rates doubled.
“If you believe like I do that college should be accessible to every qualified student, that a well-educated workforce creates a more resilient economy, then you should join me in calling on the House Republican leadership to give the Student Loan Relief Act the up-or-down vote it deserves,” Garamendi continued. “Education creates our greatest return on investment.”
As a UC Regent and CSU Trustee, Garamendi voted against every undergraduate tuition increase, because he believes higher education is already too expensive and already pricing qualified students out of an education.