Sen. Warren, Rep. Courtney Introduce Student Loan Refinancing Legislation with Vast Democratic Support in Senate and House
Student Loan Debt Has Swelled to $1.4 Trillion, Surpassing Total Amount of Credit Card Debt
Washington, D.C. - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2) and 136 of their congressional colleagues today reintroduced the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act in the Senate and House. The legislation would allow those with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at the interest rates offered to new federal borrowers in the 2016-2017 school year. A previous version of the bill was voted on in the 113th Congress, and every Senate Democrat and three Senate Republicans voted to move the bill forward, falling just short of breaking a Republican filibuster.
Since the original bill was introduced, student loan debt has grown by about $200 billion. In 2015, 70% of college seniors graduated with debt. And this year, more than one in four borrowers are in delinquency or in default on their student loans. According to a recent analysis, a quarter of borrowers default over the life of their loans. It is clear that the student loan debt crisis is getting increasingly worse, with no signs of slowing down. It is a crisis that threatens our economy, and the futures of young people all across America. With interest rates scheduled to rise again this summer, the urgency for Congress to address the student debt crisis and to allow borrowers to access today's lower rates is stronger than ever.
"President Trump talked about student loans when he was on the campaign trail, campaigning on the idea that the federal government should not be making a profit off the backs of hardworking students - but talk is cheap," said Senator Warren. "Since taking office, President Trump seems to have lost all interest in students and their student loans, as he and Secretary DeVos deliver one blow after another to hardworking borrowers. I urge the President to stop his Department of Education's attacks on students, support this legislation, and demand action from his Republican colleagues."
"A college education is one of the most valuable investments a family can make but rising costs often make it difficult for students to attend without borrowing enormous amounts of debt," said Congressman Courtney. "Compounding the issue for families is the fact that student loans often come with higher interest rates than mortgages, car loans, and other forms of consumer lending which can be refinanced. This bill will help ease the burden of student debt by finally allowing undergraduate borrowers to refinance their loans and take advantage of today's new lower rates. Student debt hinders our economy because it delays or prevents borrowers from making other major investments including purchasing a home, starting a business, or simply saving for retirement. A college degree has become a critical part of securing a good-paying career and that is why keeping college affordable must be a top priority in Washington. I will continue to work to keep the dream of college within reach for Connecticut families."
Original sponsors of the legislation in the Senate included Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Ranking Member of the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
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