Pictured: AAO President Dr. Nahid Malecki with Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA)
The hometown newspaper of Congressman John Garamendi reports that the student loan bill (H.R. 4001) that he introduced in the House of Representatives in October is awaiting action by a Congressional committee.
During 2017, AAO leaders and legislative counsel led dental organizations that worked closely with Rep. Garamendi on the bill. The legislator introduced the Student Loan Refinancing and Recalculating Act with Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania. Congressman Garamendi is a Democrat and Congressman Fitzpatrick is a Republican, so the bill had immediate bi-partisan support.
The Reporter News of Solano County, California, which includes Congressman Garamendi’s district, published updates on the legislation on February 20. The article, “Congressman John Garamendi’s bill to ease student loan debt awaits committee action,” reports that the committee responsible for the bill is headed by Representatives Virginia Foxx, Republican-North Carolina and Robert Scott, Democrat-Virginia. The AAO is listed in the article among organizations supporting the legislation.
The House of Representatives Education and the Workforce Committee must review the bill and prepare a favorable or unfavorable report on it. If it is reported favorably, the Rules Committee would determine when the full House will hear the bill.*
Three orthodontic residents who are AAO members met recently with Congresswoman Foxx to discuss the bill and student debt issues faced by orthodontists. Their meeting with Congresswoman Foxx was arranged by the AAO’s legal counsel.
Key features of H.R. 4001 include:
- Allowing borrowers to refinance their student loan interest rates to the 10-year Treasury note rate, plus one percent, throughout the lifetime of the loan.
- Eliminating origination fees and instead setting future student loan interest rates at the 10-year Treasury note rate, plus one percent.
- Delaying student loan interest rate accrual for many low- and middle-income borrowers while they are in school.
- Allowing borrowers in medical or dental residencies to defer payments until the completion of their programs.