Federal Relations

Senate Reports Student Loan Progress

Senate Democrats, Republicans and the White House are reporting progress in negotiations to a student loan interest rate fix. A group of Democratic senators, including Jack Reed RI), Joe Manchin III (WV), and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, along with independent Angus King (ME), have been conferring with Senate Republicans over the past 24 hours.

The plan, which is broadly based on the president’s budget proposal, may be finalized as soon as this week, according to one of the principal negotiators. All that is known at this time is that the proposal calls for shifting from the current 3.4 percent fixed interest rate to a market-driven variable interest rate. While the White House, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan and chief economic advisor Gene Sperling, have been kept in the loop about the negotiations, there is no word that the Senate is talking to the House.

Meanwhile, the House continues to debate both the Farm Bill and an abortion measure.