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Congressman Joe Courtney

Representing the 2nd District of Connecticut

Courtney, Warren Introduce Student Loan Refinancing Legislation With Vast Democratic Support In Senate And House

May 17, 2017
Press Release
Student Loan Debt Has Swelled to $1.4 Trillion, Raising the Urgency for Immediate Action

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2) and United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) were joined by 109 members of the House and 36 Senators today in reintroducing the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act (HR 2477). 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.

“A college education is one of the most valuable investments a family can make but rising costs often make it difficult for students to attend without borrowing enormous amounts of debt,” said Courtney. “Compounding the issue for families is the fact that student loans often come with higher interest rates than mortgages, car loans, and other forms of consumer lending which can be refinanced. This bill will help ease the burden of student debt by finally allowing undergraduate borrowers to refinance their loans and take advantage of today’s new lower rates. Student debt hinders our economy because it delays or prevents borrowers from making other major investments including purchasing a home, starting a business, or simply saving for retirement. A college degree has become a critical part of securing a good-paying career and that is why keeping college affordable must be a top priority in Washington. I will continue to work to keep the dream of college within reach for Connecticut families.”

“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 Warren. “Since taking office, President Trump seems to have lost all interest in students and their student loans, as he and Secretary DeVos delivers 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.”

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.  

Original sponsors of the legislation in the Senate included Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Original sponsors of the legislation in the House

Alma Adams

NC-12

Pete Aguilar

CA-31

Nanette Diaz Barragan

CA-44

Karen Bass

CA-37

Don Beyer

VA-08

Earl Blumenauer

OR-03

Suzanne Bonamici

OR-01

Brendan F. Boyle

PA-13

Robert A. Brady

PA-01

Julia Brownley

CA-26

Cheri Bustos

IL-17

Michael E. Capuano

MA-07

Salud Carbajal

CA-24

Tony Cardenas

CA-29

Matt Cartwright

PA-17

Kathy Castor

FL-14

Judy Chu

CA-27

David N. Cicilline

RI-01

Katherine M. Clark

MA-05

Emanuel Cleaver, II

MO-05

Steve Cohen

TN-09

Gerald E. Connolly

VA-11

John Conyers

MI-13

J. Luis Correa

CA-46

Elijah E. Cummings

MD-07

Susan Davis

CA-53

Peter DeFazio

OR-04

Diana DeGette

CO-01

John K. Delaney

MD-06

Rosa L. DeLauro

CT-03

Suzan DelBene

WA-01

Mark DeSaulnier

CA-11

Debbie Dingell

MI-12

Lloyd Doggett

TX-35

Mike Doyle

PA-14

Eliot L. Engel

NY-16

Anna G. Eshoo

CA-18

Elizabeth H. Esty

CT-05

Dwight Evans

PA-02

Bill Foster

IL-11

Marcia Fudge

OH-11

Raul M. Grijalva

AZ-03

Luis V. Gutierrez

IL-04

Colleen Hanabusa

HI-01

Alcee L. Hastings

FL-20

Denny Heck

WA-10

Steny H. Hoyer

MD-05

Pramila Jayapal

WA-07

Hakeem Jeffries

NY-08

Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr.

GA-04

Mary Kaptur

OH-09

William R. Keating

MA-09

Joseph P. Kennedy III

MA-04

Dan Kildee

MI-05

Derek Kilmer

WA-06

Ron Kind

WI-03

Ann McLane Kuster

NH-02

James R. Langevin

RI-02

John B. Larson

CT-01

Brenda L. Lawrence

MI-14

Al Lawson, Jr.

FL-05

Sander Levin

MI-09

John Lewis

GA-05

Dave Loebsack

IA-02

Alan Lowenthal

CA-47

Nita Lowey

NY-17

Ben Ray Lujan

NM-03

Michelle Lujan Grisham

NM-01

Stephen F. Lynch

MA-08

Carolyn B. Maloney

NY-12

Sean Patrick Maloney

NY-18

Doris Matsui

CA-06

James P. McGovern

MA-02

Gwen Moore

WI-04

Seth Moulton

MA-06

Richard E. Neal

MA-01

Donald Norcross

NJ-01

Eleanor Holmes Norton

DC

Beto O'Rourke

TX-16

Bill Pascrell, Jr.

NJ-09

Donald M. Payne, Jr.

NJ-10

Ed Perlmutter

CO-07

Chellie Pingree

ME-01

Mark Pocan

WI-02

Jamie Raskin

MD-08

Kathleen M. Rice

NY-04

Tim Ryan

OH-13

Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan

MP

Linda T. Sanchez

CA-38

Jan Shakowsky

IL-09

Adam B. Schiff

CA-28

Robert C. "Bobby" Scott

VA-03

Jose E. Serrano

NY-15

Terri Sewell

AL-07

Carol Shea-Porter

NH-01

Brad Sherman

CA-30

Louise McIntosh Slaughter

NY-25

Darren Soto

FL-09

Eric Swalwell

CA-15

Mike Thompson

CA-05

Dina Titus

NV-01

Norma J. Torres

CA-35

Niki Tsongas

MA-03

Juan Vargas

CA-51

Nydia Velazquez

NY-07

Peter J. Visclosky

IN-01

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

FL-23

Peter Welch

VT

John Yarmuth

KY-03

Frank Pallone Jr.                              NJ -06                                 

Denny Heck                                      WA-10

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