The Associated Press

Senate Republicans Block Sen. Warren’s Student Loan Bill

BOSTON — 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 Democratic Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. 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.

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  • Jason M. Filak

    Why is the bickering between Parties allowed to keep opportunity from the struggling middle class, and in this case students attempting to get their debt in control? Why are these obstructionists allowed to keep their jobs. As a resident of Kentucky, if I have anything to say about, McConnell (see Pessimistic cynical loser) will go no further than November.

    • Thinkfreeer

      Well, you get one vote

    • gotham77

      So get active! Make sure all your friends vote!

  • rc2132

    Thank god this bill was blocked. It would be the tax payer bailing out these students. Nothing like teaching young people that they shouldn’t worry about paying there bills. We will get someone else to take care of your problem. No wonder people today never feel responsible for there own actions. We have people like Liz Warren telling them personal responsibility is for other people.

    • B. R. Fly

      We “bailed out” a bunch of greedy, irresponsible bankers. Why not these folks? After all, part of the reason we all just struggled through the Great Recession was because of the banks and the 1 and 2 %ers who have an aversion to taxes and regulation.

    • gotham77

      Do you also call it a “bailout” when homeowners refinance their mortgages to take advantage of lower interest rates?

    • Dan52

      There is no bailout involved, only a lowering of interest rates. The only taxpayer revenue would come from millionaires and billionaires who are paying obscenely low tax rates.

  • noslack2327

    There would be no need of a student bailout BY THE TAX PAYERS, if the students had no burdensome loans. Of course, there would be no burdensome loans if the colleges and universities paid professors and administrators what they were actually worth rather than the inflated sums they now pay them.

    Isn’t that right, Senator Warren? What was again that Harvard paid you? How many courses were you tacking? Two, you say?

    Typical liberal nonsense… pass ALL expense on to the tax payers.

    • gotham77

      Why is it that the conservative explanation of the problem always involves a passionate argument about workers being overpaid?

      • noslack2327

        Workers??? Workers – right. So now we are supposed to identify Harvard professors as “workers.”(?) By what definition are the overpaid tenured professors “workers?” And the overpaid administration – are they “workers” as well. (I guess we have come a long way from Joe Hill.)

        The adjunct professors are both underpaid and WORKERS. Yes – they are – but not Senator/Professor Warren and her ilk. And, btw… where does all the money go which these students are paying? Are students paying these inflated tuitions in order to be educated by and hire Adjunct professors?

        • gotham77

          Are you finished?

          • noslack2327

            ATTN: gotham 77
            I will be “finished” when the liberals stop their handwringing arguments demanding something for nothing.

          • gotham77

            Demanding something for nothing? Are you lost or something? I fail to see how that statement even relates to this article.

          • noslack2327

            RE|:I fail to see how that statement even relates to this article.
            Of COURSE you fail to understand the concept. You see, liberals are part of the problem, rather than the solution.

            The statement relates to the article because many colleges OVERpay their professors. Hence, college costs are unnecessarily high. And while these people are overpaid, the Universities are rife with Adjunct professors. But, then, Elizabeth Warren is Native American, as she so designated on her c.v. in the application for her professorship at Harvard. So, she deserves all the money Harvard paid her.(???)

  • sjw81

    we bail out wall st and subsidize big oil and pharma and auto…yet no help for homeowners or college kids. that is today’s america

    • Dan52

      There is a simple answer: stop voting for Republicans.

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