U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on Student Loan Refinancing Vote in the Senate
Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin released the following statement on today’s vote (56-38) in the U.S. Senate on the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act. Baldwin is a cosponsor of the legislation, and while it received majority support, a minority of Republicans obstructed the bill from moving forward. The Department of Education estimates that about 25 million borrowers could benefit from refinancing under this legislation, including 515,000 Wisconsinites.
“There is a debt crisis in America. Student loan debt is more than $1.2 trillion and it is holding an entire generation back and creating a drag on economic growth for our country. This legislation takes action to address this crisis and provides relief to more than 500,000 Wisconsin borrowers who deserve a fair shot at getting ahead,” said Baldwin. “The choice was clear today and a minority of Republicans obstructed this bill, choosing to protect tax loopholes for millionaires and billionaires instead of providing relief to middle class families struggling with student loan debt.”
The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act would allow borrowers with federal and private undergraduate loans at high interest rates to refinance at today’s lower rates of 3.86 percent with no refinancing fees. The bill:
- Allows eligible student loan borrowers to refinance their federal loans. All eligible federal FFELP and Direct student loan borrowers could refinance their high-interest loans down to the rates offered to new federal borrowers in the 2013-2014 school year under the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act.
- Allows eligible student loan borrowers to refinance their private loans into the federal program. The bill provides those who meet certain eligibility requirements and are in good standing the option of refinancing their high-interest private student loans down to the rates offered to new federal student loan borrowers this year. Those who refinance will also have access to the benefits and protections of the federal student loan program. Participation is fully voluntary.
- Eliminates tax loopholes for millionaires and billionaires. The cost of refinancing is offset by implementing the Buffett rule, which ensures that millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share in taxes. In 2012, Baldwin served as the lead sponsor in the House of Representatives of the Paying a Fair Share Act, also known as the Buffett Rule.
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