Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, testified before the House Committee on Education and Workforce today. During the hearing, House Chairman Klein specifically asked Secretary Duncan to clarify the Administration’s position on the student loan issue. The Republican attempted to elicit an endorsement from Duncan of their bill, HR 1911, the Smarter Solutions for Students Act, which is founded largely on a market-based rate proposal included in the president’s fiscal 2014 budget request. While Duncan stopped short of explicit endorsement, he in his response Duncan dismissed the the Senate Democrats’ short-term fix (S 953) to simply extend the current 3.4 percent interest rate. With a strongly worded response, Duncan advocated for a long-term, budget-neutral fix for student loans rather than a short-term fix.
“We are very interested in a long-term solution,” Duncan said. “The idea of coming back every two years to try and fix something, with all the real challenges we face, and the fact that we can’t take this off the table… I just don’t understand it. I look forward to working with you and others to find some common ground.”
HR 1911 is expected to be considered by the full House this Thursday.