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Himes Seeks to Stop Student Loan Rate Increase

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – 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.”

“Yes, we must keep student loan rates from increasing, and yes we should fund standard cancer screenings for women who can’t afford them, but it’s a false choice to pit those items against each other on a balance sheet,” Himes said in a release. He added that the nation’s problems would not be solved without “genuine bipartisanship.”

Without legislative action, Himes says, the loan rates will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1, costing Connecticut students who rely on subsidized Stafford loans an average of $807 extra per year each. Himes’ bill (H.R. 3826) would extend the 3.4 percent interest rate for another year.

“Access to higher education can’t be a luxury — it is an economic imperative and the best way to increase opportunity for every student, no matter where they live or what their family’s financial situation,” Himes said in a prepared statement.

“We will never compete with China, India, and the other nations around the world unless everyone who is ready for and wants to go to college can pursue higher education. We must act now to keep college loan rates low,” he added.

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