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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

A bill that would keep student loan rates from doubling on July 1st died in the Senate on Tuesday afternoon after Senate Republicans successfully closed off debate and prevented the passage of a law that 52 members of the Senate were on the record supporting.

The vote came on a day when President Barack Obama issued a “to-do list” for Congress, but Senate Republicans ignored his concerns and continued their record-setting pattern of obstruction, taking advantage of Senate rules that prevent voting on a bill unless the the Democratic majority is able to reach 60 votes.

Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell explained that his caucus objected to the $6 billion bill because it would raise revenue by increasing the payroll taxes of high-earning stockholders of public corporations. He dismissed the bill as “campaign material” that was introduced as a “a way to drive a wedge between Republicans and a constituency that they’re looking to court ahead of November’s elections.”

The GOP alternative would raise money to pay for the bill by repealing elements of President Obama’s healthcare plan. This proposal has drawn a veto threat from the White House.

As it stands now, 7.4 million students use the Stafford Subsidized loan program to borrowing an average of more than $4,200 a year. If Congress can’t reach a solution, their interest rates will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

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President Joe Biden

Photo by The White House

Two tiresome realities about being president of the United States: first, everybody blames you for things over which you have little or no control: such as the worldwide price of oil, and international shipping schedules. Should there be too few electronic gee-gaws on store shelves to pacify American teenagers this Christmas, it will be Joe Biden’s fault.

Second, everybody gives you advice, whether you ask for it or not. Everywhere you look, Democrats and Democratically-inclined pundits are tempted to panic. “The cold reality for Biden,” writes New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait “is that his presidency is on the brink of failure.” A return to Trumpism, and essentially the end of American democracy, strikes Chait as altogether likely.

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