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STUDENT LOANS: Murray Joins Senate Democratic Women to Highlight How Student Loan Debt Disproportionally Impacts Women

Jun 04 2014

Murray: I am hopeful that Republicans will work with us to ease the burden of student loan debt…and make sure every working woman and family has the fair shot they deserve

Senate will vote on student loan debt bill next week

(Washington, D.C) Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) joined Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) to highlight how women are disproportionately burdened by student loan debt, in part due to the gender wage gap. The Senators outlined their new legislation to give everyone a fair shot to afford college and the opportunity to refinance existing student loans. Additionally, they noted that Senate Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act in April, legislation that would help close the wage gap between women and men working equivalent jobs—costing women and their families $434,000 over their careers. Making college more affordable for Americans and ensuring women get equal pay for equal work are critical pieces of the Senate Democrats’ fight to give all Americans a fair shot.

Earlier today, Senator Murray chaired a Budget Committee hearing on the impact of student loan debt on borrowers and the economy, where she heard from Brittany Jones, recent college graduate and Former President of the Student Virginia Education Association. At the hearing, Murray addressed how student loan debt has lasting repercussions for young adults as they start their careers, and holds back the economy by limiting borrowers’ economic activity. Murray called on Congress to ease the burden of student loan debt by passing legislation allowing borrowers to refinance their federal student loan debt to today’s rates. 

And last month, Senator Murray joined Senator Warren on the Senate floor to discuss other barriers women and their families face in today’s economy and highlighted policies that would grow the economy and level the playing field for women. Murray also held a Budget Committee hearing on expanding economic opportunity for women and families.   

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks below:

“We know getting a college degree can give more people a fair shot to get ahead.

“But for many Americans, taking on student debt has become a college pre-requisite.

“The overwhelming weight of student loan debt can have lasting consequences, as young people try to start their careers, set up households, and save for retirement.

“And for women, because of the gender pay gap, it can be even more difficult to pay down student loans.  

“A couple of weeks ago, I heard from a working mom named AnnMarie at a Budget Committee hearing.

“She told us about the ‘crushing student loan debt’ she and her husband—both first generation college graduates—are struggling to pay off.

“But that wasn’t all. At her job, AnnMarie found out she was paid less than her male coworker who did the same job, even though they had nearly identical resumés. 

“After a few years, AnnMarie added up those lost wages.

“She found out they amounted to more than $12,000 in lost income for her family, which could have covered 10 months of student loan payments.

“I think we can all agree that’s just unfair—and it’s not good for families or our economy as a whole.

“So I’m proud Democrats are fighting for women to get the same pay as their male counterparts—just like we made sure insurance companies can’t charge women more than men for health insurance.

“And I’m proud we are fighting just as hard to make sure women can find better jobs, and keep more of what they earn, by breaking down the barrier the high cost of a college education creates for so many students today.

“The legislation by Senator Warren that we’re moving forward with, which would let borrowers refinance their student debt to lower rates, is a critical part of this effort.

“I am hopeful that Republicans will work with us to ease the burden of student loan debt and build on that with more steps to expand opportunity and make sure every working woman and family has the fair shot they deserve.”