U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

Senator Baldwin Supports Legislation that Takes Action on Student Debt Crisis

Student loan debt has swelled to $1.4 trillion, surpassing total amount of credit card debt

By - May 18th, 2017 08:38 am
Money and Student Debt. Image by Paul Ritz.

Money and Student Debt. Image by Paul Ritz.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and 36 of their Senate colleagues in introducing the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act. The legislation would allow those with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at the interest rates offered to new federal borrowers in the 2016-2017 school year. A previous version of the bill was voted on in the 113th Congress, and every Senate Democrat and three Senate Republicans voted to move the bill forward, falling just short of breaking a Republican filibuster.

Since the original bill was introduced, student loan debt has grown by about $200 billion. In 2015, 70% of college seniors graduated with debt. And this year, more than one in four borrowers are in delinquency or in default on their student loans. According to a recent analysis, a quarter of borrowers default over the life of their loans. It is clear that the student loan debt crisis is getting increasingly worse, with no signs of slowing down. It is a crisis that threatens our economy, and the futures of young people all across America. With interest rates scheduled to rise again this summer, the urgency for Congress to address the student debt crisis and to allow borrowers to access today’s lower rates is stronger than ever.

“A college education should be a path to prosperity not a path to indebtedness, but student loan debt is holding back an entire generation and creating a drag on economic growth for our country,” said Senator Baldwin. “This legislation well help address the student loan debt crisis by providing relief to Wisconsin students and families. It is past time for Washington to act with legislation that will help give Wisconsin students a fair shot at getting ahead and building a stronger future for themselves.”

“President Trump talked about student loans when he was on the campaign trail, campaigning on the idea that the federal government should not be making a profit off the backs of hardworking students – but talk is cheap,” said Senator Warren. “Since taking office, President Trump seems to have lost all interest in students and their student loans, as he and Secretary DeVos deliver one blow after another to hardworking borrowers. I urge the President to stop his Department of Education’s attacks on students, support this legislation, and demand action from his Republican colleagues.”

Original sponsors of the legislation in the Senate included Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ed Markey (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

A summary of the bill is available here.

A copy of the bill text is available here.

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