Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Saturday, December 3, 2016

By Stephanie Haven, McClatchy Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Divided along mostly partisan lines, the Senate refused Wednesday to take up a Democrat-backed bill that would have enabled individuals to refinance existing student loans to the lower interest rate Congress approved last year for new borrowers.

Among the roadblocks: Democrats proposed paying the $55.6 billion price for the lower rates with a tax increase on people who make more than $1 million a year.

“Billionaires or students,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), the sponsor of the proposal. “Investing in students and asking millionaires to pay their taxes seems pretty fair to me.”

Republicans called the bill a “political stunt,” saying Democrats had proposed it as an election campaign tool rather than a means to address the problems with higher education.

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, dubbed the payment mechanism a “class warfare tax.”

Republicans also pointed to a report from the Congressional Research Service that found the legislation would amount to an average of $1 a day in savings for those with student loan debt.

“College graduates don’t need a $1-a-day tax subsidy to pay off their loan; they need a job,” Alexander said. “Why would we spend time on this if it doesn’t deal with the real issues? The real problems with student loans are complexity and over-borrowing.”

Forty million Americans are in the process of paying back a total of $1.2 trillion in student debt.

The bill would have allowed borrowers with standard undergraduate loans, for example, to reduce their interest rate from an average of 6.8 percent to 3.86 percent. The lower rates are based on bipartisan legislation from last year that fixed new student-loan rates to those of the market.

Photo: “thisisbossi” via Flickr

8 Responses to Senate Refuses To Take Up Bill To Refinance Student Loans

  1. Indeed there is class warfare going on In this country as Warren Buffett and he further said HIS class was winning .The likes of Lamar Alexander talk about jobs but I have yet to hear a jobs plan from him and his Republican Colleges aside from the usual Cut Taxes on the RICH (excuse ME that would be the job creators) and the Corporations (currently paying the lowest share EVER) and Of course the EVER Popular cut regulations(worked great when we got rid off law that kept Investment banking Separate from regular banking )

    • There jobs plan has 2 steps:
      1. Reduce Taxes for Corporations and the “Job Creators”.
      2. Eliminate Regulations

      • Yes and it’s worked so well for THEM but not so much for the REST of us .If it really worked we would NEVER had had the GREAT Recession because Bush did those exact things ,even going so far as to cut taxes during a WAR an action unprecedented n our history perhaps even in ALL of history .
        Finally remembered the name of that law that protected us for some it was 50 years it was Glass Steagall and was replaced by Senator Graham from Texas during the Clinton Administration .

  2. Well Lamar Alexander is now being challenged by the Tea Party. They are embolden after Eric Cantor’s loss. It should be interesting to watch. Either way, neither one has a solution.

  3. The only light at the end of the tunnel is that the Tea Party continues to eat the Rethuglican Party alive. The more extreme their nominees are, the better the Democrats will look. Of course, that assumes that Harry Reid and the Democrats know how to use this to their advantage, something I’m not convinced they do.

  4. I am (85yrs,Korean Veteran) I ask my country for (a forgiven on my student loan of $6880dols from a $26,000dols) the Republican congress discrimated against me, and refuse my forgiveness Not only was I a Vet but I taught in a segregated school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I know I got no justic from these Capitalistic Pigs and Plutocracts(Commissioners) has taken out of my Social Security(over $10,000dols), Pheea of Pennsylvania is part of this dispicitable CRAP and I am very angry at my Govt. and Where? is my Democracy. Thank You are the magic words with me. I Love Ya All. Mr. C. E. KING

  5. It’s interesting to note that our student loan woes are in the hands of individuals in government who could pay off their own student loans with the millions they’ve made from lobbyists that sold the American people out!

Leave a reply