Democrats Propose Payroll Tax Hike in Student Loan Debate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a debate today on addressing rising student loan interest rates, Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Ranking Member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said he was disappointed that President Obama and Senate Democrats would keep rates low by taxing small businesses and reducing job opportunities for students once they graduate. Enzi said the Senate should instead focus on the Republican alternative (S.2366), which puts forward a solution that takes money from a slush fund, which the President has previously used to fund other priorities. 

“There is no reason we should be having this debate today.  Freezing student loan interest rates for one year is something we all agree on and should be relatively simple to accomplish,” said Senator Enzi.   “Unfortunately, Democrats prefer to pick a fight rather than help students during these tough economic times.  They would use an irresponsible tax increase on small businesses when we need these employers to create jobs so college students have employment opportunities when they graduate.”

Senator Enzi noted that in Wyoming, small businesses that would be affected by this new tax are family owned and are an important part of America’s economy.  In fact, these small businesses accounted for 65 percent of the nation’s 15 million jobs created between 1993 and 2009. 

“Rather than increasing taxes on small engineering and accounting firms, we should be encouraging these businesses to hire new employees.  As a former small businessman, I know this will not happen if we raise taxes on the very businesses we depend upon to turn the labor market around,” Senator Enzi said.  “Unfortunately, President Obama and Congressional Democrats would rather play politics instead of finding a solution that focuses on the immediate needs of America’s students and their families.  Election-year politics must not prevent us from reaching a bipartisan agreement on this important issue.”

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