Reid, McConnell say they have a deal on student loan interest rates

Reid, McConnell say they have a deal on student loan interest rates

Senate leaders say they have a deal on student loan legislation, pending approval by House Republicans, who have unexpectedly balked at Senate deals before.
 
Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidConservative Senate candidate calls on GOP to end filibuster Ex-Reid aide: McConnell's 'original sin' was casting ObamaCare as 'partisan, socialist takeover' GOP faces growing demographic nightmare in West MORE (D-Nev.) told reporters Tuesday there is an agreement on student loans and now the question is what type of legislative vehicle to use to pass it through Congress.
 

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One option is to attach it to a two-year transportation authorization bill, which is nearing completion in Senate-House conference. A senior GOP aide said “odds and ends” remain to be resolved.
 
“We basically have the student loan issue worked out. The next question is what do we put it on to make sure we can complete it,” Reid said.
 
Senate Republican Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellMcCain returning to Senate in time for health vote Senate Dems launch talkathon ahead of ObamaCare repeal vote Overnight Healthcare: Trump pressures GOP ahead of vote | McConnell urges Senate to start debate | Cornyn floats conference on House, Senate bills | Thune sees progress on Medicaid MORE (R-Ky.) said final approval of student loan legislation, which would prevent rates on federal Stafford loans from doubling to 6.8 percent, depends on House Republicans.
 
“Sen. Reid and I have an understanding that we think will be acceptable to the House. That may or may not be coupled with the highway proposal over in the House,” said McConnell.
 
House Republicans surprised Senate leaders in December when they objected to a short-term deal Reid and McConnell had negotiated to extend the payroll tax holiday. House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerSudan sanctions spur intense lobbying OPINION | GOP's 7-year ObamaCare blood oath ends in failure A simple fix to encourage bipartisanship in the House MORE (R-Ohio) had given Senate leaders the impression that House Republicans would accept it.
 
A senior Democratic aide said he was leery about calling the student loan bill a done deal until Tea Party Republicans in the House had weighed in.
 
Reid said negotiators are very close to a final deal on a multiyear transportation authorization bill and said there must be an agreement by Wednesday if it is to pass this week.
 
“I’m convinced when this is all over with, we could have a very, very good highway bill that would include transit and would include some things that we work with here in the Senate,” he said.  


“In the last 24 hours a lot of progress have been made,” he added, noting his staff has been meeting with BoehnerJohn BoehnerSudan sanctions spur intense lobbying OPINION | GOP's 7-year ObamaCare blood oath ends in failure A simple fix to encourage bipartisanship in the House MORE’s staff.