06/18/2012 01:00 pm ET Updated Aug 18, 2012

Time Is Running Out to Protect Students Overburdened by Debt

On July 1, in less than two weeks, interest rates on student loans will double to nearly seven percent unless Congress takes action, and does so in a responsible manner.

The doubling of student loan interest rates will adversely affect nearly seven million of America's best and brightest students. Students who borrow the maximum in subsidized student loans could pay up to an additional $1,000 in interest costs.

I stood with 194 of my colleagues in voting against a bill that would have extended the reduced interest rate by gutting the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which funds essential health services that help prevent diseases from occurring. We cannot support measures that help today's students by sacrificing programs that support the needy, heal the sick or punish workers by putting their pensions on the line.

Leaders in the House of Representatives have refused to take substantive action to reach a reasonable compromise. Congress can and must find a way to defend the needs of today's college bound students without punishing hard-working Americans. As the days tick away, middle-class students and parents are becoming increasingly nervous that they will not be able to afford a quality education.

I support a sensible and responsible measure that pays to keep student loan rates low; end tax subsidies for big oil companies who are already raking in record breaking profits. It is abhorrent that we continue to subsidize major corporations that do not need it while young people are starving for a bigger and brighter future.

The American people expect better and they deserve better. I am committed to working with my colleagues to ensure that we prevent the doubling of student loan interest rates next month.