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Democrat Disarray Halts Student Loan Relief

- June 28, 2013

WITH SENATE DEMOCRATS IN DISARRAY, STUDENT LOAN RATES ARE POISED TO DOUBLE ON JULY 1

"Senate Democrats Battled Among Themselves Over Student Loans," All But Guaranteeing The Senate Will Miss Its July 1 Deadline To Prevent Loan Rates From Doubling. "Senate Democrats battled among themselves over student loans Thursday, holding dueling news conferences about the right way to prevent interest rates from doubling in four days. It was an unusual situation for the party with an issue on which it has typically been united. And the split all but guaranteed that the chamber will blow past the July 1 deadline, when new student loan applicants who receive need-based federal aid will see their interest rates rise from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent." (Meredith Shiner and Lauren Smith, "Democrats' Split On Student Loans Breaks Into The Open," Roll Call, 6/27/13)

  • Roll Call Headline: "Democrats' Split On Student Loans Breaks Into The Open" (Meredith Shiner and Lauren Smith, "Democrats' Split On Student Loans Breaks Into The Open," Roll Call, 6/27/13)

Senators Headed "Out Of Town Without A Deal" To Prevent Student Loan Rates From Doubling. "Nothing was happening - quickly or not - before July 1, meaning students who take loans would face higher rates. Senators were heading out of town without a deal, and Harkin said his colleagues would consider a retroactive fix on July 10." (Philip Elliott, "Senators: Student Loan Interest Rates To Double," The Associated Press, 6/27/13)

  • Because Senate Democrats Failed To Act, Student Loan Rates Are Poised To Double From 3.4% To 6.8% On July 1. "With just days to spare before a July 1 deadline sends subsidized Stafford loan rates up from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, a group of senators from both parties announced a plan that would link interest rates on new federally backed loans to the financial markets." ("Bipartisan Proposal To Keep Student Loan Rates Low Faces Uncertain Prospects As Reid Objects," The Associated Press , 6/26/13)

A Last-Minute Bipartisan Plan To Fix Student Loans Fell "Flat In The Senate Democratic Caucus," Despite Support From Both Republican And Democrat Senators. "A proposal from Sens. Angus King (I-Maine), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has fallen flat in the Senate Democratic Caucus, though Senate Republican leadership supports it." (Burgess Everett, "No Student Loan Fix Before Recess," Politico, 6/27/13)

  • Senate Democrats Have Been "Grousing And Trying To Thwart" Efforts To Adopt Versions Of Obama's Student Loan Fix. "Republicans have long sought to link student loans to the financial markets instead of letting Congress set the rates for federal lending. President Barack Obama included a variation of that market-based approach in the budget he sent to Congress earlier this year, leaving his fellow Democrats grousing and trying to thwart those efforts." ("Bipartisan Proposal To Keep Student Loan Rates Low Faces Uncertain Prospects As Reid Objects," The Associated Press , 6/26/13)

DEMOCRATS ARE THE ONLY ONES FIGHTING - REPUBLICANS ALREADY SUPPORT THE SAME TYPE OF REFORMS PROPOSED BY OBAMA

The Bipartisan Senate Plan "Draws From Formulas For Setting Future Interest Rates That Have Been Proposed By President Obama And House Republicans In A Bill They Approved Last Month." "A bipartisan group of lawmakers Thursday will introduce a compromise student loan proposal aimed at preventing a massive increase in student loan interest rates on July 1. The proposal, which was hammered out over the past week by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Angus King, I-Maine, Tom Coburn, R-Okla., Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., draws from formulas for setting future interest rates that have been proposed by President Obama and House Republicans in a bill they approved last month." (Abby D. Phillip and Jeff Zeleny, "New Bipartisan Student Loan Deal Faces Long Odds In Senate," ABC News' The Note, 6/26/13)

House Republicans "Have Largely Adopted" The Student Loan Plan Outlined By Obama In His April Budget Proposal. "But this week's intraparty division is not especially surprising given that Senate Democrats have been simmering for months over President Barack Obama's April budget proposal, which included a student loan proposal designed to foster bipartisan agreement. Now, that simmer has heated to a boil, with many congressional Democrats believing that the White House plan - which Republicans have largely adopted - pushed them too far to the right." (Meredith Shiner and Lauren Smith, "Democrats' Split On Student Loans Breaks Into The Open," Roll Call, 6/27/13)

  • Only "Minor Differences" Separate The Student Loan Plans Supported By House Republicans And The Obama White House. "The challenge now is for the House and White House to resolve their relatively minor differences and bring Senate Democrats on board by July 1. Better access to higher education is a vital component not just of economic prosperity but of a healthy democracy." (Editorial, "Obama's Republican Student-Loan Plan," Bloomberg, 6/13/13)

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