Blumenthal pointed out that student loan rates are higher than the borrowing rate for large banks. Lawmaker missed the July 1 deadline to prevent need-based student loan rates from doubling from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.
Blumenthal said doing nothing about student loan rates would have serious economic implications for the country because most U.S. jobs require some higher education.
“It seems to me like one of the most effective measures we could take to promote job growth is to increase access to higher education," Blumenthal said. "At the very least, we should not be actively hindering this access by allowing rates to increase.”
Democrats argue that given one more year, lawmakers would have time to address the drivers of tuition increases and the $1 trillion of existing student loan debt in reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinTrump flirts with Dems for Cabinet Trump meets with Dem senator amid Cabinet speculation Overnight Energy: Walden wins Energy gavel | Trump looks at Dems to head Energy, Interior MORE (D-W.Va.), Richard BurrRichard BurrDems pledge to fight Sessions nomination Battle for the Senate: Top of ticket dominates Shakeup on Senate Intel: Warner becomes top Dem MORE (R-N.C.), Tom CoburnTom CoburnWill Trump back women’s museum? Don't roll back ban on earmarks Ryan calls out GOP in anti-poverty fight MORE (R-Okla.), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderKey Republicans ask Trump to keep on NIH director McConnell tees up medical cures bill Speculation and starting points: accreditation, a new administration and a new Congress MORE (R-Tenn.), Angus KingAngus KingAngus King: Trump's not draining swamp, he's adding alligators Overnight Cybersecurity: Last-ditch effort to stop expanded hacking powers fails Intel Dems push for info on Russia and election be declassified MORE (I-Maine) and Tom CarperTom CarperOvernight Finance: Trump takes victory lap at Carrier plant | House passes 'too big to fail' revamp | Trump econ team takes shape Warren calls for probe of Trump hotel conflicts of interest Dem: Trump must ensure business deals don't violate Constitution MORE (D-Dele.) introduced a bipartisan bill similar to what House Republicans passed last month. The Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act requires all newly issued student loans be set to the U.S. Treasury 10-year borrowing rate plus 1.85 percent for undergraduate loans. The cap on interest rates for consolidated loans would be 8.25 percent.
Manchin said he wasn't confident that the Senate could agree on a larger higher education bill by next year. He also said his student loan bill was better because it's a permanent fix for all students not just a one-year extension for the poorest 40 percent.
"Under our proposal everything is 3.66 percent next year," Manchin said Tuesday. "It could go up, you could have inflation."
But most Democrats have said that plan is worse than doing nothing because there is no loan rate interest cap, meaning rates could grow higher than 6.8 percent.
“Proposals that have low ‘teaser rates’ but will only result in high rates down the road will harm our nation's economy and only exacerbate the problems that we face.”
Blumenthal cosponsored a bill with Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSanders vs. Trump: The battle of the bully pulpit Trump’s Treasury pick leaves Sears board: report Reeling Dems look for new leader MORE (D-Mass.) that would have allowed students to take advantage of the low interest rates that banks get, but measure hasn't gotten a vote.