WASHINGTON, D.C. — Calling it a “sensible and reasonable approach” to student loans, President Barack Obama on Friday signed a bill into law that would make it more bearable to borrow student loans.
Flanked by Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the Oval Office, Obama praised the compromise to tackling the soaring student loan debt of $1 trillion and then cautioned that “our job is not done.”
The Obama administration theorizes that this law is a “good compromise” for all students through the 2015 academic year.
“Feels good signing bills. I haven’t done this in a while,” Obama said, alluding to the difficulty he’s faced getting Congress, particularly the Republican-controlled House, to approve his legislative priorities, such as gun control and budget deals.
“Hint, hint,” he added to laughter.
Without this new law, the rates on new subsidized Stafford loans would remain doubled at 6.8. There was an increase on July 1 when Congress couldn’t agree on how to keep rates at the previous 3.4 percent.
But not everyone was happy. While Connecticut’s House delegation all voted to approve the House version of the student loan bill, Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal defiantly opposed the bill, saying they were concerned about the eventual increase in rates that would make it unaffordable.
Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, said the bill’s is not the end of the issue. She said she is looking forward to when Congress modifies the program again before there is another hike in the interest rates.
Photo Credit: President Barack Obama signs the bipartisan bill to cut student loan interest rates, Friday, Aug. 9, 2013, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. The bill has been awaiting Obama’s signature since earlier this month, when the House gave it final congressional approval after a drawn-out process to reach a compromise in the Senate.
Charlotte Etier Central Connecticut State University