Steve Benen at Maddow Blog writes today about the efforts of President Obama and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to do something about the issue of college affordability for middle and working class families, specifically about college loan debt. It’s a big problem for a country that desperately needs to educate its children:
The numbers are staggering. As Ayan Chatterjee recently reported, “Student marketing company Edvisors calculates that the average student in the class of 2014 is expected to graduate with nearly $33,000 in debt, with nearly 60 percent of all college students having taken out a student loan. And because the debt burden has risen significantly faster than inflation, up a whopping 361.3% since 2003 according to the New York Federal Reserve, the total pile of student debt in the United States now sits at almost $1.2 trillion dollars.”
The President is proposing mechanisms to make it easier to pay back loans while, Warren is sponsoring a new, lower-interest loan structure – one which would allow students with existing loans to refinance them at a lower rate, making college something other than a life sentence of debt servitude.
Republican legislators, who are mostly responsible for the student loan interest rates currently in place – which only benefits private lenders to the detriment of college students – are, as might be expected, mostly opposed to Warren’s legislation. Thirty-nine Democrats have, however, jumped in to co-sponsor the bill.
Which leads to my question. Why is Claire McCaskill’s name missing from the list of these co-sponsors? She was present and accounted for last time Warren tried to do something about student debt. Is she just late in signing up or does she think it’s enough to vote “yea” when the times come. Or does she have a problem with this year’s version? Why don’t you ask McCaskill why she’s AWOL on this bill? I’m planning to do so.