Rep. Fattah, LaSalle Student Advocate Obama Student Loan Plan
The Obama For America-Pennsylvania campaign held a conference call today regarding the president’s recent advocacy of stopping student loan interest rates from doubling in July. The call was held with Philadelphia Congressman Chaka Fattah, LaSalle student and Obama supporter Steve Chintaman and Guidance Counselor Karina Hirschfield. All held the opinion that the plan the president has recently been advocating for needs to be passed in Washington — as was the point of the call.
“If interest rates doubled, I’d have to make sacrifices…have to cut back in other areas of my life,” said Chintaman, who spoke first. Claiming he worked at a local warehouse in addition to being a student at LaSalle and partaking in on-campus activities, he’s already $22,000 in debt and will likely be paying off his loans for more than 20 years—perhaps longer if Congress allows the interest rates to double on July 1.
President Obama’s been circling the country talking about student loans as of late and was in North Carolina on Tuesday to make his case. “I didn’t just read about this. I didn’t just get some talking points about this. I didn’t just get a policy briefing on this,” he told students there. “We didn’t come from wealthy families. When we graduated from college and law school, we had a mountain of debt. When we married, we got poor together.”
Republicans in Congress seem weary of the deal, which will hurt the federal deficit. Mitt Romney, surprisingly, has embraced Obama’s idea to continue student loan relief.
According to NPR, “The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has estimated about 15 percent of Americans, or 37 million people, have outstanding student loan debt. The bank puts the total at $870 billion, though other estimates have reached $1 trillion. About two-thirds of student loan debt is held by people under 30.”
Obama has suggested paying for the student loan relief with higher payroll taxes, which republicans have panned. Obama recently went on Jimmy Fallon to promote the student loan issue while Slow-Jamming the News, which Fox Nation unsurprisingly called an “Embarrassment.”
And on the call, Rep. Chaka Fattah went right after Republicans and their embrace of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, which would cut taxes on millionaires—the exact opposite of what the president has proposed. Bizarrely, considering his student loan stance, Romney has embraced the Ryan budget, as well.
“There aren’t a lot of choices here,” said Fattah, whom President Obama endorsed for Philadelphia Mayor in 2007. “The county cannot afford to make it…more expensive for students to pay their student loans by allowing interest rates to double.”
“I know the president is doing all he can to fight for students,” said Chintaman. “We cant afford [higher interest rates] to happen.”