Alex Witt   |  June 29, 2013

Student loan rates: Zero hour deadline with no hope of action?

Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., sits down with Richard Lui to talk about student loans and the failure of Congress to make a deal.  Meeks says that the “biggest threat to our national security is not educating our young people.” Meeks does not want the market-based rates in student-loans as they affect, overwhelmingly, middle-class and poor people.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> are now home for a week long recess and for millions of college students that means a big jump in interest rates . rates will take a big jump on monday. it's a crisis many families are struggling to address.

>> we're going to avoid as much as possible going into personal debt to finance a college education . on the other hand we don't want our daughter to be in such deep debt.

>> joining me now is gregory meek. good to see you. students on monday will be saying what happened?

>> i'm going to be say to those students i wish i was back in washington, d.c. to deal with this issue. we should have been dealing with this issue. we're talking about the biggest threat to our national security . that's not educating our young people and giving individuals whose families are struggling to make sure their kids can get the quality education. i would not be here today if it wasn't if the sacrifices that my parents made so i could get an education and taking out student loans for what they could not afford to pay for me. we're in that same situation trying to tie student loans to pay down the deficit. that doesn't make sense to me. we were the strongest country and what made us the strongest country is back in the times we gave kids free education .

>> you're talking about market based rates, right? that's what you're saying. you don't want the market based rates for the student loans ?

>> that's correct. what you're talking about is adjustable rates. what we've seen, what we've just come out of was a scenario where the whole economy was taken down and those most effected were effected by these so called adjustable rate mortgages . many were called predatory mortgages who affected overwhelmingly middle class and poor people . the republicans are talking about as opposed to having a fixed rate, let's just keep the rates where they are for two years and lets try to work this thing out.

>> president obama is behind a market based student loan rate. why not go along with him?

>> it's not based upon an adjustable rate. what happens is when you take out that loan today, when you leave you're already at a disadvantage because it took me 15 years to pay off my loans but all of a sudden you may be paying x amount of money and making way and the rate goes up. now you can't afford what you have. to adjust it to the market, if you look at the president's bill it's substantially different than what the republicans have ro posed.

>> you're not stap want to extend it for o ne or two years.

>> right.

>> even though it might generate billions of dollars over the next decade.

>> i'm not looking to generate it on the backs of our students. i want to create an opportunity for the future of america. what better way to invest in america than in the quality of young people . why don't we burden them with that. they're our future. that are the ones that will take us to the next generation. we were giving people free college education in many places. that's not available today.

>> you're back in your district this week. you'll be having some town hall meetings . this subject will come up. do you think it will be the resonating issue or there will be others?

>> there will be other also. this has opinion a fascinating week. clearly young people will be focused on this. others will be focused on the supreme court decision some people talked about the south. it has an affect on new york also. the other decision which i praise going back and forth with reference to the ending of doma.

>> this is going to come up. what will you tell students that ask you about this.

>> i'm going to tell them i'm going back to fight as hard as i can. i'm ready to work this out. we should have a conversation.

>> why didn't you get this done?

>> i'm trying. it's not up to me to bring the bill on the floor. i signed up for a motion to discharge. let's have a straight up and down vote. it takes putting the bill on the floor. let's have a straight up and down vote and see what happens and the majority wins. we can't get the bill to the floor. that's why we had to do a december charge petition to get the bill on the floor to vote and see where everybody stands.

>> whatever happens this coming week, i hope you have a good barbecue on july 4th as you're out there doing this work.

>> i hope i have several because i'm running seeing constituents from barbecue to barbecue.