Reid: Senate will take up student loan bills before August recess

Reid said Democrats and Republicans have been negotiating a compromise bill that would retroactively address a student loan hike that went into effect earlier this month.

On July 1, need-based student loan rates doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

Republicans have pushed a permanent solution that would set loan rates based on the 10-year Treasury note, while Democrats advocated for a one-year extension of current rates. One of Democrats’ complaints about the Republicans proposals was that the cap on loans was higher than 6.8 percent.

The bill is expected to look similar to the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act introduced by 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.). It requires all newly issued student loans be set to the 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, but because of negotiations, that cap is likely to be lower.

“The legislation has been presented to me,” Reid said. “It isn’t everything that I want, but it’s a work of a number of Democratic and Republican senators working long hours. We have to get this done as soon as possible, and of course, we’ve made it retroactive.”

Reid said the Senate would at least take the bill up before leaving for the August recess. He also said he hoped student loan bills from other senators would get votes at the same time.

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