Republicans filibuster Senate vote on student loan rates

Republican lawmakers today derailed a Senate vote to prevent student loan interest rate from doubling this summer.

S. 2343 “Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act of 2012” fell short of the 60 votes necessary to overcome the Republican filibuster.

The cloture vote failed 52-45.  
Republican Senators blocked the bill despite earlier bipartisan consensus that the interest rate for federally-subsidized college loans should remain at 3.4% through July 1, 2013. But without Congressional action, the student loan interest rate will nearly double to 6.8% beginning on July 1. The rate increase will impact about 7.4 million American students, with each student paying an average of $1,000 more as a result.

Read more: Student loan delinquency rate climbs above 20%

“Today, Republicans voted to hit students with an additional $1,000 in debt in order to protect wealthy tax dodgers. Republicans have paid lip service to the need to protect our students from this crushing debt burden, but their obstruction speaks louder than their words,” said Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who sponsored S. 2343.

In this case, the partisan disagreement centers around how to pay for the cost. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that keeping the interest rate at 3.4% for another year would cost nearly $6 billion.

Republicans want to offset the cost by cutting $6 billion in federal spending. On the other hand, Reid’s bill would pay for the costs by closing tax loopholes to prevent lobbyists, consultants, and investment managers from underreporting their corporate and self-employment taxable incomes.

“If Republicans want to have a vote on an amendment with their alternative way to pay for the proposal, they are more than welcome to have that vote if doing so would move this bill closer to the President’s desk,” challenged Reid.

The U.S. student loan debt is estimated to be at $870 billion, which surpasses both credit card ($693 billion) and car loan ($730 billion) debt, and a recent report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that nearly 1 in 4 borrowers are struggling to repay their student loans. Some experts fear that the college loan debt bubble could spark the the next debt crisis.


List of Republican Senators who voted to block S.2343:

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4 Comments on “Republicans filibuster Senate vote on student loan rates

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