May 8, 2012

Student Loan Interest Rates

By Christy Gullion

The Senate will take up a measure today that would prevent subsidized student loan interest rates from doubling this July.  While both parties agree that they want to stop the rate hike from going forward, Senate republican leadership indicated Monday that they will likely filibuster the democratic measure because it opposes the proposed offset.   Senate democrats need 60 votes to move forward with their bill.  Democrats, who control 53 votes in the Senate, would need at least seven republicans to vote with them to overcome a filibuster and begin debate on the bill.  House republicans have already passed a different version.   

The democratic legislation would cover the $6 billion cost of preventing the interest rate increase by eliminating a corporate tax loophole that allows the wealthy to pay less in Social Security and Medicare taxes.  Republicans prefer a measure similar to the House-passed bill, which would offset the cost of the interest rate cut by eliminating a fund in the 2010 health care overhaul that covers prevention and public health.

President Obama has made a campaign issue out of the bill because interest rates on Stafford loans will jump to 6.8 percent from 3.4 percent if Congress doesn’t act by July 1st.

UPDATE:  The Senate just voted to blocked the bill to prevent doubling of the student loan rates.  Stay tuned…

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