Represent!

Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Student loan relief bill faces tough opposition on Capitol Hill

For many students, paying tuition to attend UCLA or any college requires a loan that takes years to pay off. A bill before Congress could make it easier to clear away student loan debt.
For many students, paying tuition to attend UCLA or any college requires a loan that takes years to pay off. A bill before Congress could make it easier to clear away student loan debt. David McNew/Getty Images

Americans owe more on student loans than on cars or credit cards—more than $1 trillion dollars.

That statistic has been floating around for three years or more. Now an L.A. lawmaker has introduced the first House bill in the new Congress to address the student loan debt problem.

Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) is sponsoring the Student Loan Fairness Act. The measure would permanently cap federal student loans at their current levels of 3.4 percent.

Repayment would be spread over 10 years at a rate of 10 percent of discretionary income. After that, the slate is wiped clean, with the federal government picking up the tab for the remainder of the loan amount.

Bass calls her student loan debt relief bill "the most appropriate expense we can make as a nation."

Bass says the Congressional Budget Office hasn’t yet come up with the exact cost of the program, but that cost is likely to scare off GOP support. So she's enlisting students to put pressure on her House colleagues, inviting the public to become “citizen co-sponsors” of the measure.

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