Interest Rate Reduction Act

Floor Speech

Date: April 27, 2012
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WOODALL. I thank the chairwoman, and I thank the chairman of the committee, Mr. Kline.

I rise in reluctant opposition to this bill, but in strong support of the committee and the work that they're doing.

We got caught up in politics again today. It makes me so angry. I'm so angry I could spit. I'm trying to bring my blood pressure down over here as a freshman, remember, because I came here for results. I am the keynote speaker tonight for the Georgia College Republicans' statewide convention, and I'm going to go down there and proudly tell them that I voted ``no'' on this bill today that is pandering to their interests, not because I don't like young people in education, but because I love young people in education.

Every time we come to this floor and talk about how proud we are that we're paying for a piece of legislation, every oil industry tax you want to raise and every millionaire tax you rant to raise, those could be paying down the deficit that we're borrowing from these young people that you purport to support here today. With every new piece of ObamaCare that we want to abolish and that should be abolished, we could put that money towards reducing the over $1 trillion a year we're borrowing and asking our young people to pay back.

But let me tell you, as a conservative Republican, I am not embarrassed of what we do to serve our young people. Congratulations on our subsidies for our young people. We've now driven our student loan debt higher than the credit card debt in this country. Congratulations. Congratulations that we now have a 3.4 percent interest rate so that the one out of two young people who comes out of college and can't find a job can default on those loans at a lower rate instead of at a higher rate. Congratulations. What about focusing on the jobs? What about focusing on our children's futures? What about focusing on the better tomorrow that we owe to these young people?

There is a choice of two futures here. The committee, as everyone in this House knows, is working on a permanent solution. We subsidize student loans today with a Federal Government guarantee for below-market interest rates; 6.8, that's a below-market interest rate. We subsidize student loans today with an above-the-line deduction on the 1040. Everybody can take that today, already today; and here we are in the midst of the largest economic crisis in our Nation's history, saying, once again, let's spend the money instead of putting the money towards these children's futures.

There is no free lunch in this town. Every single penny that we spend we're spending from them. You're not subsidizing these people. You're asking them to pay more with interest in their futures. In graduating from college, one out of two kids can't find a job. Student loans are higher than credit card loans for the first time in American history. Are we headed in the right direction, or are we headed in the wrong direction?

I say focus on what this Committee on Education and the Workforce is doing. Look at what they are doing for a permanent fix to provide certainty. This is another short-term fix. I know my colleagues on the left and on the right are trying their best to do what they believe in their hearts is going to serve our young people, but short-term fixes are not the answer. There is a better answer, and it's coming from the committee later on this year. I hope my colleagues will oppose this bill today and will support that bill coming forward.