An enormous amount of student loan debt, now exceeding $1 trillion in total, is dragging down the U.S. economy by making it more difficult for many Americans in their 20s and 30s to buy big-ticket items like homes and cars. Shane Gill, a 33-year-old high-school teacher in New York City, owns neither and is not married, having postponed major life decisions and purchases because of his $45,000 in federal student loan debt. A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that 30-year-olds with student loans were less likely to have mortgages than 30-year-olds without student loans, despite the fact that those with student loans usually earn more money over their lifetimes. Weak economy, tighter lending standards, a poor job market, and reduced take-home pay are all contributing to the trend. House Republicans and Senate Democrats have both put forward proposals to try to hold back the July 1 doubling of the interest rate on some federal student loans.