Reid: Progress is being made on a student loan compromise

Lawmakers missed the July 1 deadline for when need-based student loan rates doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

Reid said a group of senators have been meeting at his instruction in Sen. Dick Durbin's (D-Ill.) office to work out a possible compromise. 

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Later Wednesday, the Senate will vote on whether to end debate on a motion to proceed to S. 1238, the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act, which would extend the 3.4 percent loan rate on need-based loans for one year.

There is a Republican alternative bill, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Democrats are putting politics ahead of students by not considering that bill, which is similar to something President Obama proposed in his own budget. 

“Senate Democrats are still blocking bipartisan student loan reform,” McConnell said Wednesday. “You have to ask yourself why. Well, because they’ve prioritized politics over helping students.”

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 a bipartisan bill similar to the House plan. 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.

Democrats say that plan would be worse than doing nothing because there is no cap to loan interest rates.