Boehner signals House can agree to Senate student loan deal

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday spoke positively about a Senate deal on student loans that he said is similar to Republican legislation the House passed last month.

“I haven’t seen the details of it, but clearly, it follows the structure of the House bill,” Boehner said at a Capitol press conference. “It’s a market-based reform with market-based rates, similar to what the president called for and what the House has already passed. So when we see the details, I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to put this issue behind us.”

The compromise hammered out in the Senate would allow the rates on student loans to move up and down with the market but give students the ability to lock in the rates when they take out the loans — an aspect not included in the House or White House plan.

Another new feature to the Senate deal would be a cap on how high student loan rates can rise, a key piece in winning over Democrats wary of allowing borrowing rates for students to move up and down with the rest of the economy. The Senate compromise came about after Democrats failed in their efforts to simply freeze the lower borrowing rates for another year.

House Republicans have taken the offensive on an issue more recently favorable to Democrats. The House passed legislation before rates doubled on July 1 that GOP leaders argued was in accordance with the reforms that President Obama had proposed. But Senate Democrats were divided on the issue, and a leadership-backed bill failed last week.

— Peter Schroeder contributed.