Congressman Bob Gibbs

Representing the 7th District of Ohio

June 6, 2013

June 6, 2013
Columns

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 4.4 million Americans have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer.  What’s more, the vast majority of graduating seniors in college are hoping to enter the workforce while they are strapped with thousands of dollars in student loan debt.  These startling facts result from policies implemented in Washington that erode certainty and private sector confidence, preventing our economy from growing.

Last week, the House acted to keep student loan rates from doubling on July 1st by passing H.R. 1911, the Smarter Solutions for Students Act.  This legislation is a long-term fix that saves money and protects the most vulnerable students by holding Congress accountable for acting in time to change the student loan interest rate.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, H.R. 1911 will save the federal government $995 million over the course of five years and $3.7 billion over the course of 10 years.

Students need the stability of knowing that their interest rate is not going to continue to increase exponentially, and H.R. 1911 provides this stability.

The bill provides a permanent solution by determining student loan interest rates and resetting them each year.  Rates will also be capped at 8.5 percent for undergraduate loans.   Most importantly, the interest rates have switched to a market-based system, fostering a growing economy.

Continually throwing more taxpayer dollars at student loan debt is not the answer.  The answer lies in this critical switch to a market-based system.  Bureaucrats in Washington should not be in the business of determining student loan interest rates.  That job, like most, is much better left to the free market.

We need solutions like H.R. 1911 that ease the pain for hardworking taxpayers and expand opportunities for graduating seniors looking to enter the workforce.  Job creation and growing our economy need to be our priorities with every piece of legislation that passes through both chambers of Congress, and I am proud to say that the House has kept that in mind with this crucial bill. 

I'd like to hear your opinions about the Smarter Solutions for Students Act.  Please email me at repbob.gibbs@mail.house.gov  or call my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-6265.