On Friday, April 27th, the House approved H.R. 4628, by a vote of 215-195. The bill extends the current interest rate on federal student loans for one year. It offers a fiscally responsible pay-for by taking money from one of the slush funds in President Obama's health care law.
The Illinois delegation split on this vote. With Illinois Congresswomen Judy Biggert as the bill sponsor, Republican members Bob Dold, Randy Hultgren, Adam Kinzinger, Don Manzullo, Peter Roskam, Aaron Schock, John Shimkus and Bobby Schilling, as well as Democrat Dan Lipinski voted in favor of HR 4628.
Democrats Jerry Costello, Danny Davis, Luis Gutierrez, Jesse Jackson, Mike Quigley, Bobby Rush and Jan Schakowsky, as well as Republican Joe Walsh, voted against the bill.
Rep. Kinzinger explained his vote on the House floor with these comments:
"Congress passed this legislation under a Democratic-controlled, Congress in 2007, which would double student loan interest rates this year. The president’s failed economic policies are leaving half of recent college graduates either unemployed or underemployed. Students cannot find work and allowing the rates to expire will only intensify the problem.
"As someone who paid my own way through college and as a representative of thousands and thousands of college students, I understand the seriousness of this issue and the stress and extreme burden it places on our youth. The cost of college tuition has increased by 25 percent and these young students take on this debt, counting on the fact that they will have a job after finishing college.
"Ultimately, our youth is suffering the most from this struggling economy. It is crucial that we implement sound economic policy to address this crisis now and in the long run."