MADISON, Wis. — The following are the statements of One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross on Senator Tammy Baldwin’s announcement she will be voting against the federal student loan interest rate legislation before the U.S. Senate today:
“Senator Baldwin was exactly right in her speech on the Senate floor today, higher education and job training ought to be a path to the middle class, not a path to indebtedness.
“We applaud champions like Senator Baldwin who are working on real solutions to this crisis and know there is more that needs to be done, and done immediately, if we are going to keep the $1.2 trillion student loan debt crisis from becoming a $2 trillion economic catastrophe.;
“Make no mistake, this fight has only just begun. The $1.2 trillion in student loan debt currently held by over 37 million Americans is a clear and present danger to the American economy.
“The expected action of the U.S. Senate today, while providing some short-term relief to some future borrowers, does nothing to address what is now the second largest consumer debt in the nation. And instead of closing corporate tax loopholes today, interest rates on future borrowers will rise above the 6.8% they rose to in July because of Congressional Republican intransigence.
“Borrowers have done the right thing, they’ve worked hard and taken on the responsibility for funding the education they need to get ahead. They’re not asking for a bailout now, just a system that treats them fairly.
“But right now, American families are increasingly being squeezed by skyrocketing tuition and a system in which big banks and the federal government making billions in profits from the interest on their student loans.
“We need action at the state and federal level on common sense solutions like allowing people to refinance their student loan, like they can a mortgage, deduct the interest on their student loans from their taxes and limit tuition increases to the rate of inflation.”