Two bills created to assist 600,000 student loan borrowers in Virginia refinance their debt have been shot down by a Republican-controlled subcommittee, according the to Augusta Free Press.

At a press conference on January 9th, Democrats detailed how the bills would have created a state entity where borrowers could refinance and consolidate student debt at lower interest rates. Right now, over one million Virginia residents collectively owe more than $1 billion in student loan debt. The bills would have not only helped borrowers save on their monthly payments, but also potentially helped to boost the state’s economy.

Those in support of the bill argued that student loan debt is hurting both the local and national economy, as well as hindering young people who want to pursue higher education but are afraid to go into debt. Those individuals then have difficulty finding well-paying jobs without degrees.

The Democrats also explained that since many graduates are seeing their paychecks consumed by student loan debt, they cannot afford to buy homes and cars. The argument is that the bills would have helped boost the local economy since the extra money that borrowers would be saving each month could then be used for big-ticket purchases. Not to mention an overall improved quality of life for graduates who don’t have the stress of having to choose between their standards of living and repaying their student debt. In fact, many opt not to pursue their passion or chosen career due to the weight of student debt and the pressure to repay it.

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“Today, Virginia Republicans told our students and hard-working families that they care more about partisan politics than they do about you,” says Del. Marcus Simon, who co-sponsored the bills with Del. Marcia Price.