Chairman Ryan (R-WI) Doubles Down on Pledge to Protect Big Oil at Expense of Students

Before skipping town for last week’s recess, House Republicans finally voted to prevent student loan rates from doubling on July 1st—but the GOP bill does so at the expense of women’s healthHouse Democrats offered a different path to protect more than 7 million from this drastic hike: closing outrageous tax loopholes for Big Oil.  House Republicans refused.

Back home in Wisconsin last week, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan doubled down on the GOP decision to put Big Oil ahead of both America’s students and the health of women and children.  From ThinkProgress:

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) told students at a town hall Friday that he would not support preventing a hike in their student loan interest rates if it was paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes.

“Nope,” Ryan told Matt Kozlowski, a student at the University of Wisconsin, who’d asked him if he’d support closing such loopholes to stave off an imminent rate hike…

Meanwhile, House Democrats have been talking with students and families in their districts across the country about the House Democratic bill and the need to prevent the student loan rate from doubling:

Daily Hampshire Gazette – Congressmen McGovern, Olver blast Republican plan on student loan rates: U.S. Reps. James McGovern and John Olver blasted their GOP counterparts during a rally Thursday at the University of Massachusetts, saying their plan to avert an increase in student loan rates amounted to “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Congressman John Tierney on Facebook: Students at Middlesex Community College and Endicott College are joining me this week to voice their support for efforts to prevent the student loan interest rate from doubling on July 1. Are you a student who would be hurt by the coming increase? Add your voice by commenting here and we’ll add your name to the “Wall of Debt”. Next week, I’ll bring your names and stories to Congress to strengthen our call for action.

The Daily Wilton – Himes Seeks to Stop Student Loan Rate Increase: U.S. Rep. Jim Himes of Fairfield County has co-sponsored legislation that would hold interest rates on certain student loans at their current level without impacting funding for childhood immunizations and women’s cancer screenings. The Greenwich Democrat opposes a proposed bill that he says would hold “student loan rates hostage to the GOP’s misguided attempt to eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund.”

The Daily Mamaroneck – Rep. Nita Lowey Opposes Student Loans Hike: Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Harrison) is calling on Congress to keep student loans affordable for middle to lower income college students… “We shouldn’t have to choose between health care and education,” Lowey said.

Michigan Radio – Michigan lawmakers push to hold down student loan interest rate: Michigan U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (D-Troy) says tens of thousands of people in Michigan face the prospect of higher student loan costs, unless Congress acts soon…”Just here in the state of Michigan 330,000 students will be faced with a large increase in that interest, which will add $1,000 to the debt of the average student. So on average $4,000 if you get out in four years,” Peters said

Sonoma Patch – Congressman Thompson Takes on Student Loan Interest Rates, Price of College: Congressman Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, spoke at Sonoma State University Wednesday on the college affordability and rising student loan rates…”College is already costly, and our government doesn’t need to make the price tag even higher by allowing interest rates to double,” he added. “Congress needs to act now to keep this from happening”

KGO TV – Lawmakers fighting increase in student loan costs: Bay Area lawmakers along with the Obama administration are working to prevent the cost of low-interest student loans from jumping dramatically. Local Democrats are running hard with this one…Congresswoman Anna Eshoo was at Foothill College. Barbara Lee was at Cal. On Thursday, Zoe Lofgren will be at San Jose State University.

@RepRickLarsen: Thanks to 50+ @EverettCC students who came out to talk about #studentloans and other topics

‏@RepGwenMoore: Yesterday, I held a press conference urging my colleagues to keep interest rates on student loans low #dontdoublemyrate

New Brunswick Patch – Pallone Discusses Student Loan Issues with Rutgers Students: …Surrounded by Rutgers University students studying for finals, Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) met with a dozen students to talk about student loans and the rising cost of college tuition.  Pallone said that the main issue he and his constituents in Washington are facing at the moment is the rising cost of student loan interest rates, which may go as high as 6.8 percent on July 1

The Journal – Russ Carnahan discusses student loan concerns at Webster: On Tuesday May 1, Carnahan discussed the possible increase of student loans for institutions in the United States…“[The House GOP bill] places students and teachers in a hostage-like situation with healthcare. This is a great country, we can do both of these things…we can do both,” Carnahan said…Carnahan wants students to take a look at social media and speak up about student loans.

@paultonko:  Student loan debt is now larger than credit card debt and auto loan debt #Siena #dontdoublemyrate

Roll Call – Chris Van Hollen Uses District Event to Talk Student Loan Rates: “Unless Congress resolves these issues, student loans will go from an interest rate of 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent,” Van Hollen told the audience. “We’re trying hard to prevent that from happening.”… He also hit Republicans for only embracing the lower interest rates for political expediency, noting that Rep. Paul Ryan’s House-passed GOP budget assumed the interest rates would double on schedule with current law.

‏@RepJoeCourtney: I’ll be on @JeffSantosShow at 3:40 to talk about student loan interest rates – set to double in 58 days! Listen:

@RepJohnLarson: Hosting forum on keeping student loan rates low at CCSU. If Congress doesn’t act by 7/1/12, rates will double to 6.8%.

‏@RepBecerra: Meeting with graduating seniors at Lincoln HS today. Let’s keep college affordable for them #DontDoubleMyRate.

Burlington Free Press – Welch listens to University of Vermont students’ debt stories: Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., walked into the Davis Center at the University of Vermont on Monday expecting to get an earful about the student debt problem…About a dozen students, one after another, had the congressman’s sympathetic ear as they held forth about their debt burdens — and their concerns in the face of a possible interest rate increase… “A huge financial albatross,” Welch called student debt. He said Congress has to address not just the interest rate issue, but the larger problem of college affordability

Golden Gate Xpress – Congresswoman Jackie Speier speaks to SF State seniors about student loan debt: In an effort to raise student voices in the fight against the pending increase in student loan interest rates, Congresswoman Jackie Speier paid a visit to SF Statetoday to meet with students.  The congresswoman met with 15 seniors at SF State who could be impacted by the doubling of the interest rates on Stafford loans, which will take effect on July 1, unless legislation passes to supplement the shortfall in the budget…One of the solutions Speier proposed was to end subsidies for oil companies to cover the budget shortfall. She also encouraged students to voice their opinions to student associations… “San Francisco State is not a campus that is shy to action.”

RepDianaDeGette: Excited to meet w Denver-area students at 10 AM press conf urging action to stop student loan increase July 1 #dontdoublemyrate

Associated Press – Cicilline: student loan rate hike too much: U.S. Rep. David Cicilline is vowing to fight to prevent the doubling of interest rates on some federal student loans.  The freshman Democrat met Rhode Island College students Tuesday to discuss his concerns that higher rates will make higher education too expensive for some students.

Creative Loafing Tampa – Kathy Castor pushes for Congress to pass student loan bill: … Appearing in front of the Midtown campus of St. Petersburg College with over a dozen SPC students standing behind her, Castor said the GOP scrambled to hold a vote on the issue last week only after Obama had successfully put them on their heels by barnstorming the country about the issue last week.  “In their budget, they did not address the student loan increase,” she said of the Paul Ryan-crafted economic plan… Joining Congresswoman Castor at the news conference was SPC student John Pecora. He said if he has to start paying 6.8 percent on his student loans, the “financial dynamic” of his education would be severely upended.

WXOX (Wisconsin) – Representative Ron Kind Talks Student Loans: Students who plan to take out Federal Loans for college could face higher interest rates when they re-pay those loans unless Congress acts before July first…Congressman Kind said the issue could affect more than 163,000 borrowers throughout Wisconsin. “We ought to be working on ways of opening up the doors of educational opportunity rather than slamming them shut and making it more difficult for students to afford college,” said Rep. Ron Kind.

‏@RepLoisCapps: On my way to join @UCSB_AS to highlight need for Congress to act to prevent interest rate on student loans doubling #DontDoubleMyRate #UCSB