By Ramsey Cox
On July 1, need-based student loan rates doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.
If that bipartisan amendment doesn't pass the final bill is also unlikely to.
The House-passed bill put the rate at the 10-year note plus 2.5 percent, and has a 8.5 percent cap on consolidated loans. But the House version proposed a variable rate for loans, while the Senate bill would set fixed rates.
Some Democrats have said that they could not support the bill because it “profits off the backs of students.” The Senate will also consider two amendments from those opposing the bill — all amendments and final passage will be held to a 60-vote threshold.
Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have an amendment that would reduce the student loan cap from 8.25 percent to 6.8 percent. That's paid for by taxing millionaires.
Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) amendment would sunset the bill after two years.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said it's about time Democrats bring the legislation to the floor.
"At least Democrats have finally stopped obstructing," McConnell said Wednesday. "This bill proves Democrats can actually work with Republicans if they want to."
Reid also said he wanted to complete work “in the next 24 hours” on S. 1243, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill, which funds government transportation and housing agencies.
The Senate is expected to consider a few more amendments to that bill Wednesday, including one from Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) that would prioritize bridge construction.