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

Contango

Re: "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,"

The Federal Reserve's artificial low interest rates and GSE encouraged liar loans worked out well for pumping up the housing bubble didn't it?

95% of student loans are backed by the govt., i.e. U.S. taxpayers.

freespeech1

The student loan bill was just a gimmick to make news. If Obama cared about debt and these kid’s futures, he wouldn’t be running up the national debt and destroying the Dollar.

Someone should find out whether those students learned math. Ask them whether they’d prefer to save a few percent off their student loans or live under a few percent inflation every year until the Dollar finally crashes to zero.

bluzie

There is nothing about this that is a gimmick, unless you think helping Americans is a gimmick? Seems like if you are not a corporation, the GOP doesn't give a hoot about you. What have they done in the last 10 years to actually help people? Hint, NOTHING!

Peninsula Pundit

Ne'er truer words were spoken.

Peninsula Pundit

And your point is, Contango?
If there is one pertinent to the article, that is.

From the Grave

I rather my tax money go to education than to whatever we are calling our presence in the Middle East.

There you go again

Why is the government governing our college loans?

Contango

In 2010, Pres. Obama and a Democrat Congress, saw to it that the U.S. taxpayer was on the hook for student loans.

"Student Loan Overhaul Approved by Congress"

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/2...

bluzie

Student loans had always before George Bush been a low interest government loan. George Bush changed that and made student loans an ATM for banks. President Obama changed it back to a government low interest loan when the banks were no longer lending in 2009. However, when President Obama and the Democrats wanted to lower the interest rates to the rate that we can borrow, Republicans blocked it. The GOP does nothing but hurt Americans. Wake up!

From the Grave

Why? The same reason that they make laws to protect people from other people. If everyone always did what was in the best interest of themsleves AND other people, we wouldn't need a government.

Contango

Re: "we wouldn't need a government."

And if the central govt. pushed accountability down to the local level as far as possible we'd need less (read: expensive) centralized govt.

Trying to govern a nation of 320 million people from one city on the Potomac leads to abuse, inefficiency, fraud and waste.

The 'problem' with DC?

It's too BIG, it's too COMPLEX and it's too full of POLITICS.

From the Grave

Yeah~who governs the government. Nobody.

Contango

Re: "who governs the government,"

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

- Hanlon's razor

The Big Dog's back

Gee, I think we tried that Gov to the locals thing before. How did that work out? Oh yeah, the Civil War.

SamAdams

You might want to revisit your American History lessons...

The Civil War wasn't about local government. It was declared to prevent states from exercising their Tenth Amendment rights. Yes, the rallying cries and the results involved slavery, but that was convenient (after all, most people can't in good conscience support enslaving other people!). The real reason for the Civil War was to make secession illegal and states' rights largely null and void.

freespeech1

Well put Sam, unfortunately most have no idea what the civil war was about in reality. Schools don't teach the historical facts. The true Abe Lincoln is not taught to kids.

Factitious

The Civil War did not nullify states' rights. It did settle some questions as to what the term means.

The claim that the Civil War was about states' right and not slavery is mostly revisionism by apologists for the South's racism.

Nemesis

The Civil War transformed the United States from a free republic held together by the consent of the states to an empire held together by military force.

Lincoln violated many other parts of the Constitution, including threatening to imprison the Supreme Court if they published a ruling contrary to his will.

The Civil War was about economics and taxation. At the Hampton Roads peace conference, the Confederacy was told they could keep their slaves, but the sticking point was the protectionist tariffs that protected the North by ravaging the economy of the South. The war would have ended that day if the Union was willing to reduce the tariff. That was the only point of disagreement that caused the war to continue.

The Big Dog's back

More southern hooey.

Contango

Re: "revisionism,"

At it's essence it was a constitutional crisis.

KnuckleDragger

If the government truly cares about helping atudents who are being buried by their monthly student loan payments then please tell me why student loan debt is the only debt that cannot be discharge in a bankruptcy? The bottom line is, if they want to help students 1) get rid of the exemption from bankruptcy, 2) put a cap on the amount of student loans the government will back.

Informed

There is a cap on the amount of student loans the government will back. Each student is only allowed so much.

freethinker1

Knuckle: That's exactly the sort of reform that Obama is hoping to enact.

Sen. Brown met yesterday with a recent graduate who took out $40,000 in loans to pay for an over-priced college degree. The student now owes $70,000, and his credit rating has tanked, as a result. In turn, he now cannot get a good job, because of that poor credit rating.

The point of this article is that Republicans are only making the problem worse, by not allowing any reform that would actually help students.

grumpy

So the problem is not with the student who borrowed more than he can repay but with the gov't who loaned the money? And the gov't needs to change the rules to make it right? The student's last lesson is that there are no consequences to making bad decisions. Or was there a gun to his head forcing him to take out that loan? He was forced to take the loan instead of working a few years to save money to pay for college? The gov't is the only one who has to make it right? Maybe we should change leadership in the gov't? Last few times I took out loans the gov't never offered to forgive those loans. But I guess students are special and don't need to be treated like other folks.

On another post you went on about how universities are great because they have such intelligent folks there. I guess I will have to take your word for that as with this issue it seems not to be obvious where that intelligence is hiding there.

ram03

I'd rather have my tax dollars in my wallet. After all that is money I earned. But nonetheless, politicians need a giant to slay so they can say vote for me! It's sick, could also be called Munchausen Syndrome. Create the problem, and then swoop in to solve said problem.

freethinker1

So, your "solution" is to stick it to these students, who are the victims of a financial system they didn't create? Republicans are always griping about people who scam the system. These are people who WANT to get educated, who WANT to get a job in their chosen career field.

Instead, they are forced to become a drag on our economy far longer, simply because the loan system saddles them with ever-growing debt from the get-go.

How interesting that some conservatives don't realize this. They are too busy griping about the deficit, while blissfully unaware that they are helping it grow...

Rosa

Mcconnell and his disgusting miserable sub human beings just want two classes, the very rich and the very poor. They do not want the middle class to get ahead. Student loans should be interest free, and there should be more free public college education. After college, some kids have loans that are what a house payment is for their parents.

The Big Dog's back

Exactly Rosa.

MiddleRight

Your liberal schools keep upping tuition to pad the pockets of the overtly liberal professors and administrators.

So who's against the middle class? Where do you think that tuition money is going to?

If you hypocritacal liberal homers would look at the real problem and not an outlying symptom of the problem, then real progress could be made.

And if you think student loans should be interest free and education free, why aren't you on the Demoracts that put this bill together? It does little to nothing to help any student. It's an election year stunt.

freethinker1

Schools don't identify themselves as "liberal", and certainly, they also educate conservatives. So, before you continue with your anti-education rant, you should probably consider that without colleges, conservative leaders would be even more stupid than they currently are.

Liberals DO find a home at educational institutions, because that's where the smart people tend to be. I don't consider that a character fault, since being well-educated and well-informed are good things. Fox News, of course, would disagree with that - since they are counting on their viewers to be under-educated and under-informed. Conservatives find a home at NASCAR races and UFC matches, and as a group, tend to be suspicious of any educational institution - as you obviously are.

I don't think student loans should be free, but it's quite obvious that the interest rates are ridiculously high. We took out a $16,000 loan for my son in 2004 and made the payments on schedule. By 2012, we owed $25,000. Something is clearly wrong.

If it's seen as an election year stunt, I'm ok with that, because (unlike most GOP initiatives) THIS ONE actually helps middle class Americans. Conservatives should try that, once in awhile, I think...

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