Senate Votes Down Student Loan Plan from Both Sides - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Senate Votes Down Student Loan Plan from Both Sides

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The Senate failed to advance either of two proposed bills that would have kept interest rates on some student loans from doubling come July 1.

Thursday, senators considered competing proposals that would have kept interest rates on new subsidized Stafford loans from doubling to 6. 8 percent but rejected both.

Senate Democrats' plan would have given lawmakers a two-year window extension of the current rates so they could try to write a comprehensive overhaul, but Senate Republicans rejected the proposal saying it would be paid for through permanent tax hikes.

The Senate Republicans' proposal would link student loan interest rates to the financial markets meaning rates would have been lower in coming years but would rise as the economy improves.

Sen. Mike Johanns said new graduates are already facing uncertainty as they struggle to find good, full-time jobs which is why he doesn't want to see the rates double. He said, "With less than one month until this interest rate is set to double, it's unfortunate the majority would rather continue the political gamesmanship than solve the problem for students." Johanns voted for the resolution presented by the Republicans.

The chairmen and ranking members from both chambers' education committees are looking to pass measures quickly and then resolve differences later; in the meantime, student loan holders are waiting to see what happens.

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