According to a new report by the Center for Responsive Politics, 46 members of COngress — five senators and 41 House members — are still paying off student loans. Altogether, Congress owes somewhere between $1.8 million and $4.3 million in student loans. CRP explained it couldn’t calculate the exact amount,”because members of Congress are allowed to report debts in ranges.”
The lawmaker in the most debt is Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) who owes between $115,001 and $300,000 in student loans. While at least 13 of the members of Congress listed loans for their children’s education, many are still paying off loans for their own education.
This student debt problem is only getting worse. In 2008, only 30 members of Congress were paying student loans, between $970,000 and $2.4 million in total. Member of Congress aren’t alone: the national student loan debt has breached $1 trillion, even beating out credit card debt.
This should terrify young people who are graduating from college thousands of dollars in debt. If our leaders can’t even pay off their debt, how can we?
Our own Commander-in-Chief didn’t finish paying off his student loans until 2004.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who just recently paid off his student loans from law school, addressed the student debt problem in the GOP response to the State of the Union Tuesday night.
“When I finished school, I owed over $100,000 dollars in student loans, a debt I paid off just a few months ago,” Rubio said. “Today, many graduates face massive student loans. We must give students more information on the costs and benefits of the student loans they’re taking out.”
Last year, Congress voted to extend keeping interest rates low for federal student loans for another year, and on June 30 they will have to decide whether to renew it again.
Republican members of Congress have demanded Obama find a long-term solution to this growing student debt problem rather than rely on this quick fix.
The GOP actually wants to put an end to the federal direct student loan program altogether and is promoting for-profit universities as a more attractive option.