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Democrats Scrambling for Student Loan Rate Fix


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http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/student-loan-rate-fix-93793_Page2.html

 

In the days since the missed deadline, Washington’s political apparatus has been a muddle of messaging. House Republicans are blasting Senate Democrats for not passing a bill as the lower chamber has done, albeit one that President Barack Obama has threatened to veto. And lawmakers from both parties are now using the #DontDoubleMyRate hashtag on Twitter, first popularized by Obama at the height of last year’s presidential campaign.

Senate leaders concede that the optics aren’t great. A Democratic leadership aide called the situation “awkward,” adding: “We need to get it resolved.” …

The Senate will quickly focus on getting the issue off its plate, especially since there is no clear legislative priority list yet post-immigration bill. Leaders are mulling putting forward bipartisan energy efficiency and pharmaceutical safety bills, a defense reauthorization or perhaps an appropriations bill.

How exactly that happens remains as “clear as mud,” as one aide put it. The Senate is angling for a vote on a proposal sponsored by 42 Democrats that would extend for a year the rate of 3.4 percent for those subsidized loans. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said he thought Republicans might sign on to another one-year extension after doing so last year. …

 

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/06/gop-address/

 

Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas, faulted Senate Democrats on Saturday for this week’s hike in student loan interest rates and urged the upper chamber to pass legislation that resolves the issue as soon as the holiday recess ends.

“For too long, politicians have been in charge of setting these rates, and we keep coming back to cliffs and deadlines like this one,” Jenkins said in the GOP weekly address. “Paying for college is difficult enough without all this uncertainty. I have two kids in college, I know how hard it can be.” …

Top Senate Democrats want a cap in place to protect students if interest rates spike. That is at odds with the slightly different proposals from President Barack Obama and various congressional Republicans, which are tied to 10-year Treasury bond rates and would include charges for administrative costs but would not include caps.

Republicans, who prefer a more market-based approach, often point out that the White House’s proposal falls more in line with their own.

“When President Obama proposed letting the markets set interest rates instead, the Republican-led House passed a bill reflecting his plan,” Jenkins said. “Republicans in the Senate came to the table with similar ideas. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats attacked the president’s plan, refused to work with us, and allowed this rate hike to take effect, leaving for the July 4th holiday without passing a solution.”

 

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