Hoyer Statement on Making College More Affordable

i thank the gentlelady for yielding. i want to thank chairman miller for bringing this bill to the floor. TimeCode: 15:29:47.9 we campaigned on the fact that we would do certain things. one of those was to try to bring down college costs as they escalate throughout this country. all of us heard throughout all of us heard throughout this country parents who came up to TimeCode: 15:30:05.7 us, students who came up to us and said, mr. hoyer or mr. miller, mr. mckeon, we need that done. mr. wicker, we need that done. this bill is not perfect. it doesn't go as far as some would like. TimeCode: 15:30:19.9 frankly, i'd like to have very substantial impact on the pell grants, but we've adopted pay as you go because we think you need to pay what you buy. so we're constrained. but i hear people say, this isn't going to do anything for anybody. TimeCode: 15:30:34.7 i disagree with that. madam speaker, our nation's economic security and future prosperity are banned to our ability to compete in the global marketplace. TimeCode: 15:30:50.5 and in the 21st century, a century in which knowledge, skills and cree -- creativity is key. as the journalist and author tom friedman said, all the walls are TimeCode: 15:31:07.4 being taken down. and many other people can now compete and collaborate with us much more directly. in fact, he's observed the world is flat. that means we're more competitive. that means we need to be better able to compete. TimeCode: 15:31:21.7 that means that our young people need to be better educated. that means we need to give them access to affordable quality higher education. former president clinton also has remarked that, and i quote, we are living in a world that what you can earn is the function of what you can learn. TimeCode: 15:31:40.2 i think all of us agree with that. it's not a debating item. it's, how do we get there? today, madam speaker, i'm pleased to support this legislation, the college student relief act of 20 07, which is -- 2007, which is the first step TimeCode: 15:31:57.8 by house democrats to make college more affordable and accessible. in short, this bill will cut interest rates on need based college loans from 6.8% to 3.4% over five years. why over five years? TimeCode: 15:32:12.6 because we have to pay for it. it would be very nice to do it like that if we could pay for it. but we are in position where we are in deep debt. we can't do that. this legislation will cut the cost of college for an estimated 5.5 million undergraduate TimeCode: 15:32:32.2 students and their families. that's a significant number of people. when fully phased in it will save the typical borrower $4,400 in savings over the life of the loan. TimeCode: 15:32:46.8 now frankly that's not a big sum when you think of the life of the loan. i understand that. but frankly we view large sums differently than some others. but we make $165,000 a year. very few americans are so TimeCode: 15:33:03.8 privileged. the irony, of course, is that at a time when education is more important than ever to one's TimeCode: 15:33:10.3 success, the cost of attending college have continued to skyrocket. for example, just since 2001, tuition and fees at public universities have increased 44% when adjusted for inflation and tuition and fees at private TimeCode: 15:33:25.5 universities have risen 17%. mr. speaker -- madam speaker, we simply need to make college education more affordable and accessible. and this legislation helps us to do that. TimeCode: 15:33:42.8 let no one be mistaken, h.r. 5 is not a panacea of the high cost of education. but it is a good first step. and i know that mr. miller and mr. mckeon are going to be looking at ways and means to do better for our students. TimeCode: 15:33:57.3 in the weeks ahead, the house democrats will continue to work on efforts to make college more affordable and to help our nation maintain and strengthen its leadership role in education and the world economy. finally, i should note, madam speaker, that this bill contains no new costs for taxpayers. TimeCode: 15:34:15.4 it meets all pay as you go budget requirements, containing offsets to pay for cutting interest rates. this legislation is supported by an overwhelming majority of americans. 88% is the figure. TimeCode: 15:34:29.1 but whether they specifically know about this legislation, the overwhelming majority of americans know we have to bring the college of -- the cost of college education down if we're going to remain competitive. i congratulate mr. miller on his leadership, and i urge my colleagues on both sides of the TimeCode: 15:34:46.0 aisle to support this legislation as a step, a good step that we can take to make ourselves more competitive and to give our students greater access to college.