Legislative Update from Senator Richard Burr

This week the Senate grappled with legislation on student loan rates and, once again, did not reach a consensus. Despite rates doubling last Monday, Harry Reid and other Senate Democrats chose to stand behind Senators Reed and Hagan's stop-gap measure that would kick the can until next year - the same action taken in 2012 - instead of the bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Manchin, King, Alexander, Coburn, Carper, and me. Our bill offers a permanent solution that lowers rates and provides the predictability and certainty that students and borrowers deserve.

I think we can all agree that Congress should not be in the business of arbitrarily setting student loan rates and only granting those rates to a small subset of borrowers as the Hagan/Reed bill does. Therefore, our solution fixes this shortcoming to provide 100 percent of undergraduates with a fair interest rate that does not overcharge some to subsidize others. Below is a chart that breaks down the differences between the Hagan/Reed bill and our bipartisan solution. To learn more about our proposal, click here.

Last week, the Obama administration announced it will delay implementation of a key component of Obamacare, the employer mandate. According to the White House announcement, the employer mandate will be delayed until 2015. I, and many of my colleagues, feel that the only way to help the American people is a full repeal of this law. Because of that, 46 Republicans, including myself, sent a letter to the President asking him to heed the concerns of Republican and Democratic Senators alike and permanently delay all parts of Obamacare. Read the full letter here.

Finally, I would like to address Senator Reid's threats to use the "nuclear option" regarding Senate rules and the filibuster. The Senate Majority leader seems to have his facts wrong regarding the Senate and Presidential nominees. The Senate has confirmed 28 of President Obama's judicial appointments so far during his second term, while only 10 had been confirmed at the same point in President Bush's second term.Overall, the Senate has confirmed 199 of President Obama's lower-court judges, only defeating two, and has confirmed every single one of President Obama's second-term Cabinet nominees who have been brought up for a vote. Senator Reid has promised the Senate and the American people on multiple occasions that he wouldn't break the rules to change the rules. Will he keep his word?


Richard Burr