GOP blocks student loan bill

McConnell: Democrats want an issue 'to save their own hides this November'
Associated Press
Jun 12, 2014

Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked legislation aimed at letting people refinance their student loans at lower rates, a pre-ordained outcome that gave Democrats a fresh election-year talking point against the GOP.

The 56-38 vote fell short of the 60 that would have been needed to advance to debate on the measure by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Her bill would have let millions of borrowers, some with years-old debt and interest rates topping 7 percent or more, refinance at today's lower rates.

The bill would have been paid for with the so-called Buffett Rule, which sets minimum tax rates for people making over $1 million.

"With this vote we show the American people who we work for in the United States Senate: billionaires or students," said Warren. "A vote on this legislation is a vote to give millions of young people a fair shot at building their future."

Republicans said the bill wouldn't have done anything to lower education costs or reduce borrowing, and they accused Democrats of playing politics by highlighting an issue that was bound to fail.

"The Senate Democrats' bill isn't really about students at all. It's really all about Senate Democrats," said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "They want an issue to campaign on to save their own hides this November."

Student loan debt has topped $1 trillion and emerged as a drag on the economy and on middle-class families across the country, making it a ripe target for politicians ahead of midterm elections where Democrats risk losing their Senate majority. Wednesday's vote followed two days where President Barack Obama highlighted the issue from the White House, announcing executive action to let more borrowers to cap their monthly payments at 10 percent of their income and answering questions about the issue on the social networking site Tumblr.

The Obama administration said Warren's bill could have helped some 25 million borrowers save $2,000 each over the lifetime of their loans. It would have allowed people with older loans at higher interest rates refinance to rates below 4 percent offered today under a deal reached a year ago in Congress.

Three Republicans joined all Democrats in voting to proceed to debate on the bill: Susan Collins of Maine, Bob Corker of Tennessee and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Some 40 million Americans have outstanding student loan debt totaling $1.2 trillion, making it the second-largest form of consumer debt, second only to mortgages, according to Warren's office. People 60 and older account for some $43 billion of outstanding student loan debt.

Comments

Nemesis

"do you think, that even if we supported this practice it could lead to some kind of rationing of degrees? ... In other words if the national database shows we have too many business majors, it will refuse funding for those who want to be in business and "encourage" study elsewhere?"

If banks were issuing student loans in a free market without government guarantees, they would be doing something like that - they'd look at the student's academic record, school choice, and major, and look at the probable ROI to determine risk. Government doesn't think like that, so a medeival poetry major is just as eligible for the same loan terms as a chemical engineering major. Witness that university education programs are at capacity, in complete disregard for the fact that birthrates are down and it's a shrinking market. That's why teachers are unionized like unskilled laborers - they've destroyed their free market value by flooding the market.

Rosa

Some states are going to try and offer free community college right after high school graduation to students, and use money from the lottery to pay for it. I think that is a step in the right direction and it is about time to use that money for something useful.
Many other countries offer free public college education, but we cannot even offer interest free education. But we can keep financing these ridiculous, wasteful wars, and bail out the biggest crooks on earth, banks and Wall Street, and they still receive bonuses that amount to more than most of us, peons, will make in a lifetime.. Sorry, ranting...

Contango

Re: "Many other countries offer free public college education,"

They tend to pick only the 'best and brightest' students and the competition is fierce.

Apples and oranges.

Approx. 69% U.S. student leave college without graduating. "Free money" down the toilet.

The Big Dog's back

pooh, not everyone is cut out for college.

Contango

Re: "not everyone is cut out for college,"

Thank you for daily helping to 'brilliantly' illustrate that fact. :)

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq."

- John Kerry, 2006

'Great' words to live by. What a guy!

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com...

dontknowmuch

many like BD couldn't hack college...easier to be coddled by a union (and produce inferior crap like GM seems to be pumping out these days in recall mania)

SamAdams

Agreed. So how 'bout we split the difference and only those who ARE cut out for college (smart enough, motivated enough, and can pass tests accordingly) get to attend on the taxpayer's dime? That means NO racial preferences, NO legacy preferences, and NO consideration based on personal wealth. The top however many test takers get in. The bottom however many don't. Deal?

grumpy

But, but it has to look like America and not some racist, asian, white, female, dominaated group that get into college. It has to be the right percentage of race, the right percentage of all 5 genders, the right percentage of straight gay, bi, asexuals and any other sub group, and the "middle class" has to be well represented and then there is the mentally challenged that need to be part of the mix. Other than that there are probably a few more groups that need protected status, let alone those whose parents graduated from that college, you can't forget them. What about those who don't do well on tests? how will you treat them? You are not allowing for everyone to get a "fair share". It is not what the US stands for. All groups must be accommodated. That is the only way to give a "fair share" to each and every American or illegal alien, or terrist who wants a college education.

The Big Dog's back

You really are despicable.

grumpy

Ah another who believes he "deserves" a fair share of what other people have. Thanks for being an example... again. You really shine being an example.

Nemesis

"That means NO racial preferences, NO legacy preferences, and NO consideration based on personal wealth. The top however many test takers get in. The bottom however many don't. Deal?"

Yes, and no. If a billionaire's underachieving kid wants to spend his OWN trust fund money taking art appreciation and victim's studies courses, it's none of our business, but if you want OUR money, then we should be allowed to choose investments that yield a decent return.

Nemesis

"pooh, not everyone is cut out for college."

THAT'S THE POINT!!!!!!!!! However, our financial aid system gives anyone money for college, whether they're suited or not.

Informed

You can blame high school counselors and administrators for students pursuing college when they aren't suited. Instead of finding ways to guide a student who is not college material into something else (vocational training, military, work) they push them into college to make their numbers look better. The local schools in this area are really bad about this. God forbid someone be honest with some of these kids.

Nemesis

"Some states are going to try and offer free community college right after high school graduation to students, and use money from the lottery to pay for it. I think that is a step in the right direction."

But it's not, for the reasons I already pointed out. It will just flood community colleges with underqualified students wasting everyone's time by taking meaningless courses.

"Many other countries offer free public college education, but we cannot even offer interest free education"

If you look closer, you'll find it's not the free for all our system is. The most successful countries offering that start weeding out who will be allowed to go to university very early on. In some, you take a very tough test in 8th grade, and if you don't pass it, you can't even go to a college-preparatory high school and get the chance in four years to take the exam that gets you into university.

Informed

Remember that the next time some tries to say how bad our public high school system ranks compared to the rest of the world. It's comparing apples and oranges.

Nemesis

No, because they ALL go to high school and they ALL get included in the comparison. Their vocational high school grads are better qualified than many of the kids we send to college. A lot of the ones who get their act together AFTER failing to get into the college prep high schools come here and kick butt in our universities.

Informed

No, they don't go to "high school". They go to vocational school and they do not take the tests that are counted in those comparisons.
Their special needs students are also not included in those comparisons--ours are. And there are lots of them. All it takes is a few severely disabled students to skew the whole average.
You are still comparing apples to oranges no matter how you slice it.

KURTje

Sam have we ever had a poor CIC? Even recent events regarding Lincoln's childhood shed light on interesting things. See our leadership for the most part does not care about you or me. imo 1 group is worse than the other. Kinda like Chris Rock's analogy on whose the bigger liar ...men or women?

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