A Daily news digest by Jasper van Santen

Senate Republicans Block Bill on Student Loan Rates – NYTimes.com

In News, Really?!? on May 8, 2012 at 15:12

To be expected- yes still disappointing. Who needs the money more… people scraping by on 50,000 a year…. trying to pay off loans…  or people getting a tax break although earning a million buck s a year. 

Senate Republicans Block Bill on Student Loan Rates 

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked consideration of a Democratic bill to prevent the doubling of some student loan interest rates, leaving the legislation in limbo less than two months before rates on subsidized federal loans are set to shoot upward.

Along party lines, the Senate voted 52 to 45, failing to clear the 60-vote hurdle needed to beat back a filibuster and begin debating the measure. Senator Olympia J. Snowe, the retiring moderate Republican from Maine, voted present.

Republicans said they wanted to extend Democratic legislation passed in 2007 that temporarily reduced interest rates for the low- or middle-income undergraduates who receive subsidized Stafford loans to 3.4 percent from 6.8 percent.

But they oppose the Senate Democrats’ proposal to pay for a one-year extension by changing tax law that currently allows some wealthy taxpayers to avoid paying Social Security and Medicare taxes by classifying their pay as dividends, not cash income.

“They want to raise taxes on people who are creating jobs when we are still recovering from the greatest recession since the Great Depression,” said Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, who instead wanted to pay for it by eliminating a preventive health care fund in President Obama’s health care law.

The vote marked the 21st successful filibuster of a Democratic bill this Congress. Republicans have blocked consideration of the president’s full jobs proposal, as well as legislation repealing tax breaks for oil companies, helping local governments pay teachers and first responders, and setting a minimum tax rate for households earning more than $1 million a year.

Mr. Obama has been hammering Republicans for weeks on the issue, which has been elevated as a major political showdown, despite its relatively modest impact. American students took out twice the value of student loans in 2011, about $112 billion, as they did a decade before, after adjusting for inflation. Over all, Americans now owe about $1 trillion in student loans, and in 2010 such debt surpassed credit card debt for the first time.


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