This week, I worked with a bipartisan group of fellow Senators to forge a solution, the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act, to avert student loan rates from doubling on July 1st and provide a permanent solution that would lower and fix interest rates for 100% of newly issued student loans. This bill is a bipartisan, permanent market-based solution that ensures access and affordability for students seeking higher education and gives them the certainty they need to plan for the future. It reflects the framework set forth by the President and the Secretary of Education and takes the best ideas of the House-passed bill and other proposals in the Senate. So it is head-scratching to me that Senator Reid and the Senate Democrats refused to even hold a vote on our compromise and left town, guaranteeing that rates will double for newly-issued subsidized undergraduate loans.
Instead, the Democratic leadership is pushing a plan that amounts to little more than another short-term patch. Last year we kicked the can down the road and passed a one-year extension for only a small group of students. We can look back and know that if the bipartisan bill we introduced this week had been passed last year, students and their parents would have saved billions of dollars in interest payments. Why would we make the same mistake again and just kick the can down the road another year? Let’s stop playing politics and give all our students—not just a few—the certainty they deserve once and for all. To learn more about our solution, click here.
Yesterday, the Senate voted on S. 744, the comprehensive immigration reform bill that has been considered and debated over the past several weeks. While I have long said that our immigration laws must be reformed, I believe that any effort to deal with illegal immigration must start with securing the border first. Unfortunately, the legislation that was ultimately voted on lacked adequate border and workplace enforcement measures to stem the tide of future illegal immigration and I could not support the bill.
Finally, I’d like to extend a word of congratulations to my friend and fellow North Carolinian, Anthony Foxx, on his confirmation this week to be the next Secretary of Transportation.