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Democrats Lead Discharge Petition To Force Vote On Student Loan Debt Refinancing Bill

July 14, 2016
Press Release
In less than forty-eight hours, nearly 170 Democratic members have signed a discharge petition to force a yes-or-no vote on the Courtney/Warren ‘Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act’

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, Representatives Joe Courtney (CT-02), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Ed Perlmutter (CO-07), Jackie Speier (CA-14), and Eric Swalwell (CA-15) released the following statement after their discharge petition to force a yes-or-no vote on the Courtney/Warren Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act (H.R. 1434) was signed by nearly 170 colleagues in under 48-hours:

“With the cost of a college education skyrocketing, Americans across the country are demanding action to lower the crushing costs of higher education and relieve the burden of student debt,” said the members. “The challenges faced by our constituents are staggering – student loans account for $1.3 trillion in consumer debt, the highest amount of consumer debt outside of a mortgage, and the average student borrower carries nearly $30,000 in education debt. This is not just a drag on students, graduates, and their families; it’s a drag on our entire economy. When a potential borrower is burdened by student debt, it makes it that much more difficult to buy a home, start a family, or change a career.  

“Interest rates for these loans are often far higher than other forms of consumer borrowing. Yet, unlike other forms of debt, a student loan cannot be refinanced as interest rates drop – saddling over 24 million borrowers with thousands of dollars in extra debt. That’s why we are pushing for a vote on the Courtney/Warren Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act which will enable borrowers to refinance student loan debt just like they can with home loans, car loans, or credit cards loans.”  

The Democratic members first began circulating the discharge petition on Monday night and had collected nearly 170 signatures by the end of voting on Tuesday night. They hope to collect enough signatures to force a vote before Congress adjourns for the August District Work Period during which time a new school year will begin.  

To view the full list of discharge petition signatures, click here.

H.R. 1434 would allow borrowers with existing undergraduate student loans issued prior to July 1st, 2015 to refinance those loans to a 3.86 percent annual interest rate. Graduate school loans could be refinanced to 5.41 percent, and parent loans for a child’s education to 6.41 percent. According to estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, half of the outstanding loan volume for federal student loans—about $460 billion—would be refinanced under this bill.