Senate Dem leaders reject House GOP student loan bill

Senate Democratic leaders said Thursday they would reject a House Republican bill extending low student loan rates because it would defund an important part of the 2010 healthcare reform law.

House Republicans plan to pass the bill Friday.

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“I’m very disappointed with what the House is contemplating doing tomorrow,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said during a Thursday press conference.

“They would pay for it by stopping Americans from getting preventive healthcare. That doesn’t sound like a very good deal to me,” he said.

“So we certainly don’t appreciate that. We oppose that. Our bill is about building a middle class and you can’t do that by taking the ability of people to get preventative healthcare,” he added.

Student loan rates for an estimated 7 million people are expected to rise from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1.

Senate Democrats have proposed a one-year extension of lower rates by eliminating a tax break for S corporations, which pass corporate income, losses, deductions and credit through to their shareholders for federal tax purposes.

“If it’s true Republicans support stopping the rate hike, they have a weird way of showing it,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking member of the leadership.

“In the House, the proposal they’re advancing has a poison pill attached to it. Their offset is a partisan proposal that tries to refight the debate over the president’s healthcare law,” Schumer said. “That is not a serious attempt to pass this student loan bill.”