Democrats try to use Romney as leverage in student loan rates fight

Democrats try to use Romney as leverage in student loan rates fight

Democrats are using Mitt Romney as leverage to push Senate Republicans to support legislation that would prevent student loan rates from doubling to 6.8 percent.

The top two Senate Democratic leaders called on Romney to enter the Senate debate after Republicans voted along party lines to block student loan legislation.

“Mitt Romney says he supports what we’re trying to do. I would suggest he pick up the phone and call Sen. [Mitch] McConnell [(R-Ky.)] and tell him he favors what we’re trying to do,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems search for winning playbook Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response The Memo: Immigration battle tests activists’ muscle MORE (D-Nev.).

Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinMcCarthy: ‘No deadline on DACA’ Ex-Sheriff David Clarke: Trump only one who 'cares about black American citizens' DHS chief takes heat over Trump furor MORE (Ill.) also called on Romney to take action.

“Come on, Mitt Romney needs to pick up the phone and talk to Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Overnight Finance: Lawmakers see shutdown odds rising | Trump calls for looser rules for bank loans | Consumer bureau moves to revise payday lending rule | Trump warns China on trade deficit MORE and Speaker [John] BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE [(R-Ohio)]. If this is an issue important to him he can weigh in. The president raised this at the State of the Union address, he’s not a latecomer to this issue,” said Durbin.

Legislation to keep loan rates for low- and middle-income students stalled earlier Tuesday after it fell eight votes short of the 60 needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. Not a single Republican voted to advance the bill.

Republicans support keeping student loan interest rates at 3.4 percent but oppose the Democratic plan to pay for it by closing tax loopholes for shareholders of S-corporations.

Romney said last month that he supports keeping rates at current levels but has not yet said how they should be subsidized.

House Republicans favor taking money from a preventative healthcare fund set up by the 2010 healthcare reform bill.