Sen. Warren Introduces Bill to Lower Student Loan Interest

SenWarrenCongress Should Pass Elizabeth Warren’s Bill Lowering Student Loan Rates

By | May 8, 2013

College students today graduate with the terrible burden of an average of $25,000 in student-loan debt. That total increases with the rising costs of tuition, even at public colleges and universities, and by the actions of our own government in letting the rates for student loans rise. If nothing is done by July 1, the rates will rise again.

Such heavy responsibilities will hold graduates back for years to come. Instead of kicking students when they are down, we should end the student debt crisis. That is why we are enthusiastically endorsing the first bill introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), which would lower student loan interest rates for one year to 0.75 percent, the same rate at which the government loans money to the banks through the Federal Reserve discount window. Student loan interest rates will double to 6.8 percent on July 1 without action.

By linking the interest rates students pay to the interest rates big banks pay, the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act would insure that every qualified student can afford the education that he or she has earned. Senator Warren was right on the money when she said, “In effect, the American taxpayer is investing in those banks. We should make the same kind of investment in our young people who are trying to get an education.”

We hope her colleagues in the Senate and the members of the House see how Senator Warren’s bill will brighten the future of millions of students while at the same time energize the U.S. economy.

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New York City Okays Paid Sick Leave

New York City Council OK’s Paid Sick Leave For More Than 1 Million Workers

May 8, 2013
Mike Hall
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
AFL-CIO Now

New York City workers will receive, starting next year, five paid sick days a year to care for themselves or an ill family member under a measure the New York City Council passed (45-3) this afternoon. The vote culminates a four-year effort by a powerful coalition of workers, unions and community groups.

At a press conference before the historic vote, Vincent Alvarez, president of the New York City Central Labor Council, said:

This vote marks a big step in the right direction toward providing paid sick time to workers in our city. I commend the many advocates who have fought so hard to improve the lives of workers and their families through this bill. As this legislation is voted upon, we reaffirm our commitment to protecting and improving the basic rights of all workers here in New York City.

The issue had been stalled in the City Council, but in late March the New York City Campaign for Paid Sick Days, a broad coalition of low-wage workers, women’s rights advocates, health care providers, small business owners, labor unions and community organizations, reached an agreement with Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn to bring the paid sick leave measure to a vote.

After the vote, MomsRising Executive Director Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner said:

It’s been a long fight, but today the New York City Council heeded the call of New York families and passed a bill that would allow more than a million New Yorkers to earn paid time off to use when they are sick or to take care of a sick child, spouse or parent.

She challenged Mayor Michael Bloomberg to “stand up to corporate lobbyists, listen to the people who elected him and sign this important bill.”

Bloomberg has said he will veto the legislation. But the bill passed with a veto-proof margin.

The new paid sick leave bill requires firms with 20 or more workers to provide five paid sick days beginning in 2014 and, 18 months later, it would cover companies with 15 or more workers. About 1 million New York City workers currently have no paid sick leave.

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