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STATEMENT: CAP’s Carmel Martin and Campus Progress Director Anne Johnson on Today’s Senate Votes on Student-Loan Bills

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Contact: Katie Peters
Phone: 202.741.6285
Email: kpeters@americanprogress.org

Washington, D.C. — Today Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress, and Anne Johnson, Director of Campus Progress, responded to the Senate’s failure to pass either the Student Loan Affordability Act, introduced by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), or the Comprehensive Student Loan Protection Act, introduced by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK).

Sen. Reed’s proposal won a 51-46 majority but couldn’t reach the 60-vote threshold needed to break a Republican filibuster. Sen. Coburn’s proposal failed by a 40-57 vote, including five Republicans who voted against it. The Center for American Progress and Campus Progress recently released a column that outlines these and other current student-loan proposals before Congress. 

Carmel Martin released the following statement:

As the clock ticks down on the July 1 deadline, it is imperative that Congress acts swiftly to find a solution that protects students from unmanageable debt. The two proposals the Senate voted on today were in stark contrast. Sen. Coburn’s proposal seeks to pay down the deficit at the expense of students and does not include a cap on the interest rate charged, leaving students vulnerable to rate spikes down the road. Sen. Reed’s proposal extends current rates for two years and is paid for by eliminating wasteful tax loopholes. Congress still has time to find a solution that lowers interest rates and does not tax students to pay down the deficit, but it must come together and act now. 

Anne Johnson, Director of Campus Progress, released the following statement:

On Wednesday we led hundreds of students to lobby Congress by meeting with their senators and urge them to keep these rates low and continue their commitment to college affordability. Today’s votes in the Senate are a reminder that our work is not yet done and we will continue to make the voices of young Americans and their families heard. Last year, an extension of student-loan rates passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, and it was disappointing to see some senators switch their vote. As the economy continues to recover, too many students and families are struggling with student debt and action must be taken. We need Congress to come together to pass a bill that will protect today’s college students and the millions more in generations ahead.

To speak with an expert on this topic, please contact Katie Peters kpeters@americanprogress.org 202-741-6285.

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