Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Whom do you stand by? Students or big banks?

Tell Congress to give students a fair shot -- it's the right thing to do.

I know where I stand. I'm joining 24 of my colleagues -- including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Barbara Boxer, Sherrod Brown, and Kirsten Gillibrand -- to co-sponsor the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act.

We're fixing a glaring problem with student loan interest rates that's currently hurting young Americans. And we'll pay for this bill by implementing the Buffett Rule, my legislation that requires multi-million-dollar earners to pay a minimum federal tax rate of 30 percent.

Everyone in America striving for a college degree deserves a fair shot at an education without crushing debt. Yet, the cost of college has skyrocketed and middle-class incomes have remained stagnant.

We need you to stand with us before this week's vote on Senator Elizabeth Warren's student loan bill. It's the right thing to do for students, and it's the right thing to do to help build our country's future.

Passing this bill would mean finally implementing the Buffett Rule, which I introduced to the Senate in 2012. It's a huge step forward for fairness -- this bill would offer our students relief from costly loans, and pay for the new plan by ensuring that millionaires and billionaires contribute their fair share in taxes.

Making college affordable should be a no-brainer: there's no reason hardworking students and their middle-class families should be paying a higher tax rate than someone making millions of dollars a year. We should invest in our students, not profit off of them.
When young adults shoulder loan debt, it shadows them for decades and brings their big life decisions -- buying a home, starting a family, launching a business -- to a grinding halt. This country can't afford to set back an entire generation. Rewarding hard work with loan relief is the right thing to do for students, and the right thing to do to help build our country's future.

Last year, large bipartisan majorities agreed that federal loan rates were far too high and voted to lower them for new borrowers -- but they did nothing for existing borrowers, who are still paying sky-high rates on more than $1.2 trillion in debt.
These students need our help, fast. This excessive debt burden stands in the way of our students and the future they work so hard to achieve.

We have a chance to bring fairness back to this system when the Senate votes on the bill this week, by allowing borrowers to refinance to new, lower interest rates.

Thanks for all you do,
Sheldon Whitehouse
U.S. Senator