DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement today after Senate Republicans voted to block the Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act of 2012, which would prevent federal student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1:
“Today, Senate Republicans had an opportunity to demonstrate that keeping college affordable for middle-class students and their families doesn’t have to be a partisan issue. They had a genuine chance to stand with President Obama and Democrats in Congress who are fighting to stop federal student loan interest rates from doubling from 3.4 to 6.8 percent in less than two months. Instead, on the very day that student loan debt is estimated to hit $1 trillion in this country, Republicans squandered that opportunity. In doing so, the GOP has once again turned its back on more than 7 million students who would pay an average of $1,000 in additional costs over the life of their loan if Congress fails to prevent this rate hike. The clock is ticking, and the time for political games is over.
“President Obama has repeatedly called on Congress to act on this now so that more Americans get a fair shot at the education and skills they need to succeed in the jobs of the future. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney thinks students should ‘shop around’ if they’re concerned about tuition costs – and he privately tells his donors he’d get rid of most of the Department of Education, undercutting vital student aid programs. He also supports a budget plan that locks in the doubling of student loan interest rates and cuts Pell Grants and other education programs that make college more affordable, even though he has said he agrees with the President on preventing interest rates from doubling. This is just the latest instance of Mitt Romney contradicting himself on the issues and making promises that he cannot keep. Republicans’ disregard for the issues facing young people is unacceptable, and it’s further proof that we can’t afford their failed policies and lack of vision.”