Providing for Consideration of H.R. 1911, Smarter Solutions for Students Act

Floor Speech

Date: May 23, 2013
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WOODALL. I thank my friend from North Carolina for yielding me the time, and really appreciate her leadership on this issue.

You know, Mr. Speaker, I tell the young people when I speak to them back home, I say, turn on C-SPAN. If you don't have cable, don't buy cable; go to your friend's house to watch it. But turn on C-SPAN, and every person who comes to the House floor is going to say whatever they're doing today, no matter what it is that they're doing, they're doing it for the young people. They're doing it for that next generation, so the next generation can have a better life.

And I hear that from every single one of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. We want to come down here and we want to defeat this rule today and we want to defeat this bill today, and we want to do it for the young people.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I'm down here for the young people of my district too. The young people of my district say, ROB, what about our prosperity? What about our future? What about fiscal responsibility?

Why are you and previous generations doing to us what you're doing?

How can we have a guaranteed access to opportunity, not guaranteed success, but guaranteed access to opportunity, going forward?

And the answer is, when we get out of the business of playing political games with every single issue, every single day, and we get back into the business of providing some certainty.

Mr. Speaker, you remember how we got in this predicament today. We got in this predicament because when my friends on the left were in control and they began to deal with student loan rates, at the time they said a 6 percent rate would be good. At the time they said a 4.5 percent rate would be good. Now, suddenly, only a 3.4 percent can be good.

With every single one of these changes, Mr. Speaker, there are economic consequences. We now know in America today student loan debt is greater than all credit card debt combined. It's an amazing burden that we're passing on to the next generation. We're not giving them opportunity; we are ensuring decades of servitude.

This bill, Mr. Speaker, begins to realign marketplace rates with student loan rates, giving every student a tremendously subsidized Federal rate.

And here's the thing, Mr. Speaker. You hear this debate. It's as if this very small portion of the marketplace, these 3.4 percent subsidized loans, are the ``end all, be all'' to every student in America. Not true. Not true.

As my friends on the other side of the aisle know perfectly well but never say, more than 70 percent of all of our students take out both subsidized and unsubsidized loans. And as my friends on the left know perfectly well but never say, they leave those unsubsidized rates at 6.8 percent.

The bill that Ms. Foxx has worked on so carefully with Chairman Kline brings those rates down to 4.5, maybe even 4.4. We'll see in that last week of Treasury markets in May. But we're tying the fiscal realities of this country to opportunities for our students.

I encourage students, Mr. Speaker, look at your bills, look at your rates. Look at the subsidized and the unsubsidized. You will see what this bill will do for you.

I rise in strong support, Mr. Speaker.