Senate Takes Up Dueling Student Loan Interest Rate Bills
Today, the Senate brought two competing partisan proposals to the floor for a vote. Both bills failed to reach the 60-vote threshold required to invoke cloture and advance the legislation.
The first proposal considered was the Senate Republican alternative, S. 1003, the Comprehensive Student Loan Protection Act, sponsored by Senator Coburn (R-OK). S. 1003 would have tied undergraduate student loan interest rates to the 10-year Treasury note rate plus 3 percentage-points. S. 1003 was defeated by a vote of 40 to 57.
The second proposal was S. 953, the Student Loan Affordability Act, sponsored by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). S. 953 is a two-year fix that would extend existing undergraduate student loan interest rates until July 1, 2015 while closing certain tax “loopholes” unrelated to education. S. 953 was defeated by a vote of 51 to 47. On the morning of the vote, the Administration issued a Statement of Administration Policy in support of S. 953.
With both chambers now fully dug into partisan positions, there are only three legislative weeks to negotiate and forge a bipartisan compromise before the loan rate doubles in July.