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.

ADVERTISEMENT
On Wednesday, the Senate will vote on a motion to proceed to the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act. Sen. Jack ReedJack ReedCollins apologizes for calling GOP rep 'so unattractive' on hot mic Overnight Finance: House votes to repeal arbitration rule | Yellen, Cohn on Trump's list for Fed chief | House passes Russia sanctions deal | GOP centrists push back on border wall funding Senate panel rejects Trump’s effort to slash transportation funding MORE (D-R.I.) introduced S. 1238, which would extend the 3.4 percent rate for need-based loans for one year and would be paid for by ending a tax break on tax-deferred retirement accounts.

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 ManchinManchin on GOP lawmaker’s suggestion for a duel with female senators: I’ll ‘step outside with him’ McCain returning to Senate in time for health vote Pressure on Trump grows as Kushner is questioned MORE (D-W.Va.), Richard BurrRichard BurrKushner says he did not collude with Russia, had no improper contacts Dems slam Trump for 'stonewalling' oversight efforts Burr: Nunes 'created' unmasking allegations against Rice MORE (R-N.C.), Tom CoburnTom CoburnThe more complex the tax code, the more the wealthy benefit Congress, stop using our nation's military policy for political purposes Congress must rid itself of political 'pork' to preserve its integrity MORE (R-Okla.), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderSenate Dems launch talkathon ahead of ObamaCare repeal vote This week: ObamaCare repeal vote looms over Senate Senate panel rejects Trump funding cuts on Energy Department programs MORE (R-Tenn.), Angus KingAngus KingAngus King: No one knows what healthcare plan Senate will consider Week ahead: Senate defense bill faces delay Trump ally LePage may run for Senate in Maine MORE (I-Maine) and Tom CarperTom CarperGovernors-turned-senators meet to talk healthcare Overnight Healthcare: GOP'S repeal-only plan quickly collapses in Senate Dem leaders amp up calls for bipartisan ObamaCare fixes 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 WarrenWarren: Entire country must speak up on GOP healthcare bill OPINION | Healthcare vote a political death wish for GOP in 2018 House votes to repeal consumer arbitration rule 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.