Photo: Marco Rubio/Flickr
Congress will decide whether to extend the current low rate for federal student loans sometime later this year, and according to a new report from Russ Choma at the centre for Responsive Politics many members have firsthand knowledge of crippling student debt. Choma found that — taken as a whole — Congress owes somewhere between $1.8 million and $4.3 million in student loans.
All told, 46 members of Congress — including 22 Democrats and 24 Republicans — listed student loan debt in 2011.
The member with the most debt is freshman Rep. Raul Ruiz, who owes between $115,000 and $300,000 after gaining a medical degree and two graduate diplomas from Harvard.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — a Republican Party favourite who is often talked about as a potential 2016 contender — owes between $100,000 and $250,000 in student loan debt.
Even Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren — who was a professor at Harvard University before entering public life — still owes between $15,000 and $50,000 in student loan debt.
Interestingly, a number of people on key education subcommittees are also indebted. Reps. Joe Heck (R-Nev.), Luke Messer(R-Ind.), Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) and Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) are all on the House Education and Workforce Committee’s sub-panel on higher education, and owe a combined $95,000 to $250,000 to Sallie Mae and other creditors.
One question that remains is if the personal experience of members of congress will weight their vote when deciding to keep the rates for federally subsidized student loans low, Choma said.
Several of the loans are for children of members, which may also impact voting decisions.
Here’s the list of indebted members of Congress, courtesy of the centre for Responsive Politics. Click to enlarge:
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