Esther Kia’aina on Student Loans

The recent vote on college affordability in the U.S. House of Representatives should be another wake-up call for the American public on the direction our country is heading under the Republican-controlled House. We should not have to choose between college affordability and access to health care. We deserve both.

To stave off the doubling of interest rates on college Stafford Loans from 3.4 to 6.8 percent that was set to occur July 1, House Republicans passed a short-term fix to extend the lower rate of 3.4 percent for a year in the U.S. House of Representatives, but they offset the costs for the loans by taking $6 billion from President Barack Obama’s Health Care Act.

This offset by House Republicans repeals health funding for state grants and public health programs, including laboratory capacity and health infrastructure. They want to continue to hurt the working class and those most in need by taking away important funding that would improve access to health care.

I support the proposal of House Democrats to close tax loopholes for big oil companies and Obama’s vow to veto the House measure should it reach his desk in its current form. Let’s take away the privileges of special interests and preserve college affordability and our access to health care.

Hawaii needs someone to fight and stand up to House Republicans and special interest groups, and I am ready to serve.

Esther Kia’aina

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