Senate Fails To Get The Student Loan Vote
With federal student loan interest rates set to double July 1, the Senate failed Tuesday to get enough votes to take up a bill to extend low 3.4% rates for another year. The vote was 52-45 to take up the bill, 8 fewer than the 60 needed to officially start debating the bill. Senate Republicans and Democrats are still negotiating a compromise, and the Senate could vote again this week. In Washington, many lawmakers in both parties agree they'd like to extend the current 3.4% rates for another year. What they don't agree on is how to offset the $6 billion it would cost to do so -- a substantial hurdle. House Republicans passed a measure that would pay for extending the lower student loan rate by cutting from a health care fund that promotes preventive care. President Obama vowed to veto that bill. President Obama and Senate Democrats want to pay for the measure by eliminating some tax benefits for small business owners. Senate Republicans say the Democrats aren't serious about extending low rates, that they're just looking for political campaign material this summer. If Congress doesn't act by July 1, more than 7 million undergraduates taking out federally subsidized loans to cover next year's tuition will have to dig deeper in their pockets to pay them off. The average cost to students would be $1,000 in increased student loan debt, according to the White House.