U.S. Rep. Candice Miller (MI-10) supported the passage of a bill Friday that would prevent a scheduled interest rate increase on federal student loans by cutting a preventative health care program.
Miller was one of 215 House representatives to support the Interest Rate Reduction Act, which would preserve the rate on subsidized Stafford loans to undergraduate students by cutting the Prevention and Public Health Fund created in President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, according to The Huffington Post.
The interest rates are scheduled to increase to 6.8 percent on July 1, but IRRA would extend lower rates for an additional year. Under a 2007 statute, the 6.8 percent rates were phased down to 3.4 percent, but were set to return to their original rate if Congress did not act otherwise.
The White House has already said it would veto such legislation as the proposed bill would take money from health programs that fund services like cancer screening and child immunizations to offset the almost $6 billion a one-year rate freeze would cost.
House Democrats have said they would rather the fund the rate freeze by taking away subsidies for oil companies, according to MSNBC.com. This alternative was blocked in the House.
In voicing her support of IRRA, Miller said:
“Every young American who works hard and studies hard deserves a shot at the American Dream, but unfortunately today more than 53 percent of young Americans under age 25 with a college degree are unemployed or under-employed working in a job that does not take advantage of their education."
Miller added her belief that the passage of H.R.4628 will “help young people to be better able to afford to pay back their loans,” while not distracting the country from creating an economy “that gives them the chance to apply the knowledge they worked so hard to learn.”
The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration. The Senate is expected to introduce its version of the bill next month.