STATEMENT: CAP’s Carmel Martin and Campus Progress Director Anne Johnson on Passage of Chairman Kline’s Student Loan Bill

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 passage of the Smarter Solutions for Students Act introduced by Chairman John Kline (R-MN) of the House Education and Workforce Committee. The bill passed the House by a 221-198 vote. The Center for American Progress and Campus Progress released a column today that outlines the current student loan proposals before Congress.

Carmel Martin released the following statement:

Congress should move forward with a long-term solution that ensures students do not have to pay rates out of sync with the market and protects them from unmanageable debt. This long-term solution should not tax students to pay down the federal debt. If consensus on a long-term solution is unattainable in the next six weeks, however, Congress must act now and pass a short-term solution to prevent interest rates from doubling.

The decision by the House of Representatives to approve Rep. Kline’s proposal is a step in the wrong direction for students and the economy. Rep. Kline’s bill taxes students to pay down the deficit. Congress should act to stop rates from doubling and build in protections for students to help them manage their debt. The House measure would divert $3.7 billion from the program to deficit reduction and result in an increase in student debt of close to $4 billion over what borrowers would pay under current law.

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

We continue to see the economic ripple effects of student debt, and Rep. Kline’s bill would only make things worse. Instead of bringing relief to the millions of hardworking students and families who rely on these loans, the proposal would actually make them more expensive and exacerbate the student debt crisis. Rep. Kline’s bill also leaves out essential protections such as expanding income-based repayment and allowing current borrowers to refinance their loans. Young Americans need a solution that will make college more affordable and put them on a path to economic security, not make the problem worse.

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