Reid sets up first procedural vote on student loan fix

On July 1, need-based student loan rates doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Reed’s bill would retroactively bring some student loan rates back down to 3.4 percent.

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Last month, House Republicans passed a bill that based all student loan rates on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note, plus 2.5 percent with a loan cap of more than 8 percent.

“The legislation passed by the House would balance the budget on the backs of struggling students,” Reid said earlier Monday. “The House legislation is worse for students than doing nothing at all. Under the House plan, as interest rates start to rise, student loan rates will rise with them. Soon, loan rates will be more than double.”

The Senate attempted last month to pass legislation that would have extended the 3.4 percent rate for two years but there wasn’t enough support to overcome the Republican filibuster requiring 60-votes to advance the bill.

A bipartisan group of senators have introduced an alternative bill similar to what the House passed last month, but it’s unclear if Reid will allow that bill to come to the floor for a vote.

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Angus King (I-Maine) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) introduced the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act, S. 1241, which sets all undergraduate student loans to the U.S. Treasury 10-year borrowing rate plus 1.85 percent with a 8.25 percent cap on consolidated rates.

Before adjourning for the evening, Reid passed by unanimous consent the Organization of American States Revitalization and Reform Act. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) introduced S. 793, which directs Secretary of State to submit to Congress a multiyear strategy to carry out the diplomatic engagements of the Organization of American States.

This article was updated at 7:10 p.m. to include the passage of S. 793.