A month ago, we launched a national movement together to cut student loan interest rates. More than one million people signed on to give students the same good deal we give the big Wall Street banks.
So far, we can't get a cut. But it's worse than that.
Today, interest rates on new student loans will double to 6.8%, yet Republicans continue to block a vote to keep rates at the current 3.4% for another year. Instead, at a time when the government is scheduled to make obscene profits on federal student loans -- $51 billion this year -- Republicans have proposed their own plan to increase government profits even more.
We will not play chicken with our students' future. That's why my colleagues and I, led by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Kay Hagan (D-NC), have introduced the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act, to lock in the current 3.4% interest rate for one more year as we continue to push for real, long-term reform. On July 10, the Senate will vote on this proposal.
There's a fundamental question here: Should we be investing in our students who want to build a better future for themselves and their families, or should the government be profiting at their expense?
One year is just a short-term patch. But we need the time to fight the bigger fight.
In the long-term, we need to address the $1.1 trillion dollars in existing debt, to bring exploding college costs under control, and to stop treating our students as a profit center for our government.
DFA members have done amazing work. You've called Senators, written letters, and brought new leading educators on board. We are on the right side on this issue, and I know that if we push harder, in time we will win the day.
But with the deadline now passed, our students shouldn't pay for Congress's failure to act. Allowing rates to double this summer, or passing the costly Republican plan, would add billions to the already enormous debt burden our students suffer.
Holding interest rates at 3.4% now gives us the time to craft a real solution, one that offers real relief and real reform.
The Supreme Court will hear a case this October on climate issues. Specifically, the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. This rule is designed to force "upwind" states to take responsibility for the pollution they emit that lands in other states. It makes sense, right?
U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled 2-1 in favor of dismantling the rule in favor of dirty power plant operators. I mean, I'm sure they aren't personally dirty but they do represent the interests of fossil fuel advocates who don't want to be held liable for pollution.
The promise of action of climate change has been up in the air for a while, and Obama has finally taken a firm stand (even if it was just as firmly ignored by most TV networks). But almost immediately following his speech the Supreme Court announced that it would take up the climate rule that was struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that forces "upwind" states to enact tougher regulations on polluters whose emissions drag down air quality in "downwind" states. Seems reasonable, right? Grist reports that the Court of Appeals took the side of high-pollution power plant owners whose general argument was, "Not my problem."
It's called the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, and losing it would cost the nation dearly in 2014.
Threatening to put the lives of thousands of people at greater risk in the name of a few less climate regulations is irresponsible. We haven't been shy about calling out big business on their efforts to overwhelm the American people. Check out our other posts on big businessand climate change!
Yesterday's historic Supreme Court decision was a blessing for thousands of gay men and women in the country -- but for folks in Virginia, Ohio, and 35 other states, real change could be a long ways off.
Equal marriage is now back in the hands of the states. And too many of those states are controlled by right-wing nut jobs like Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who argued that gay marriage inevitably leads to polygamy.
Extremists like Cuccinelli are holding our whole country back. That's why DFA launched our Purple to Blue project -- to start moving us forward again, one state at a time.
It's not just about LGBT rights. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court gutted the heart of the Voting Rights Act, giving Republican governors the freedom to suppress voters and gerrymander districts with abandon. Later that same day, the country was captivated by Texas as one courageous female state senator almost singlehandedly turned back the biggest attack on women's rights yet.
These battles are being fought in all fifty states, and the attacks won't stop until we retake control of state capitols across the country. That's why DFA's commitment to a fifty-state strategy is so important -- and why your support is so critical.
10:30am: A New York City immigration judge stopped the deportation proceedings that would split up Steven and Sean, a gay couple who were married in New York.
Steven is from Colombia, and when he married his partner Sean in New York last year, they also joined the fight against DOMA. The case to keep Steven in the US, and with his partner was saved when the law was considered unconstitutional.