Obama Signs Highway and College Loans Package
President Barack Obama signed a bill today that will fund various transportation projects and prevent the interest rates on college loans from doubling. Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey said that the measure would create or save 54,000 construction and transit jobs in his state.
Another Democratic senator from New Jersey, Frank Lautenberg, said that the bill will spare around 145,000 college students from the state to pay an additional $1,000 in interest. President Barack Obama said that a higher education is the surest way to find a good hob and earn a good salary. It can’t be a luxury enjoyed by a select few.
Congress approved the legislation last week after President Obama placed the expiring student loan interest rates in the spotlight for months. It urged college students and young voters to tell their representatives to act on the issue. The demographic is a vital element for his re-election bid.
The bill is seen as an election year battle on which party is best equipped to help the voters through a sluggish economy. The bill places $100 billion that will be used to spend on highway, mass transit, and other transportation programs in the nation for the next two years. The projects would have expired June 30.
The bill also keeps the interest rates at 3.4 percent for subsidized Stafford loans for undergraduates. If Congress hasn’t passed the legislation, the interest rate could have ballooned to 7.4 percent starting July 1. It affects around 7.4 million students who are expected to apply for new loans this year. If the loan interest rate was allowed to expire, it will add an extra $1,000 to the average cost of each loan.
The bill has been seen as a victory for President Obama. It increases his chances to get the votes of young voters for the upcoming presidential elections on November.