Senate Democrats’ student loan bill goes nowhere

posted at 6:01 pm on May 8, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

The debate about maintaining the ceiling on some federal student loan interest rates was President Obama’s flavor-of-the-week campaign meme two weeks ago, but the Congressional kerfuffle continues. Although the interest-rate hike would actually affect relatively very few student loan recipients, the White House succeeded in generating quite the to-do over the debate — and here we are in legislative limbo yet again. A quick review:

The House already passed their own bill to stay the interest rate on Subsidized Stafford loans, set to double from 3.4 to 6.8 percent, for one more year, but President Obama threatened a veto. The GOP version would cut the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a program created as a part of ObamaCare, to pay for the bill, a measure that the White House deemed a “politically-motivated proposal and not the serious response that the problem facing America’s college students deserves.”

Then the Senate introduced their own version of a bill, which, as Ed explained, drew the Senate GOP’s ire because it would effectively raise taxes on millions of small businesses. The vote earlier today went cleanly down party lines, meaning that Democrats did not win the sixty votes necessary to move to debate and prevent a GOP filibuster:

In a 52-45 vote, the Senate on Tuesday rejected a motion to proceed to legislation that would keep interest rates on federal student loans from doubling. …

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) last month accused the president of campaigning on the issue, and his spokesman Brendan Buck in a Twitter message noted that the tally on passing bills to keep student loans low is Republican House 1, Democratic Senate 0.

Earlier Tuesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered to take up Republicans’ alternative to the student loan legislation if they stopped threatening to filibuster the Democrats’ bill. But as the noon vote approached, there appeared to be no deal between the parties. …

“Unfortunately, it appears that Republicans appear more interested in obstruction than progress,” [Reid] said in a statement.

So, wither the student loan distraction — er, I mean — debate? I find myself inclined to agree with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in an op-ed he wrote this morning: we need to stay focused on fixing the economy. This trumped-up issue wouldn’t be an issue if graduating college students had any good jobs to go to:

Fortunately, there is a solution to this, but its primary obstacle will be election year politics.  The issue will test President Obama and how badly he wants to exploit rising student loan debt for his own political gain.

…The president should also stop avoiding the real elephant in the room. Clearly, people with student loans have already been struggling for years and even if a student loan rate increase is averted, people will still face the more daunting challenge of a stagnant job market that the president’s policies are only making worse.


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Is it just me, or are all these bills getting voted on, just seem like simple posturing? The ones out of the Senate never make it to the House, and vice versa. And they all know this. Nothing is ever going to get done without one party (preferably, not the progs) holding Congress and the presidency…may as well send everybody home til November.

sage0925 on May 8, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Good nothings, sweet nothings.

Bmore on May 8, 2012 at 6:08 PM

I find myself inclined to agree with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in an op-ed he wrote this morning: we need to stay focused on fixing the economy.

Is that why he’s pushing for a by-end-of-summer Dream Act?

de rigueur on May 8, 2012 at 6:10 PM

“Unfortunately, it appears that Republicans appear more interested in obstruction than progress,” [Reid] said in a statement.

Said the man who’s blocked a Senate budget for over 1000 days along with dozens of jobs bills sent up from the House.

Mr. Reid now holds the world record for a pot calling the kettle black.

MessesWithTexas on May 8, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Doesn’t matter what the Congress does or doesn’t do. Jugears will just write an edict (Executive Order) from upon high, and his will shall be done. Amen.

Harbingeing on May 8, 2012 at 6:10 PM

I demand clawback on my student loans if this passes.

No way I pay mine off in full, and then 3 years later others get theirs forgiven.

I could have done a lot with that money.

No…. frikkin’….way.

cane_loader on May 8, 2012 at 6:12 PM

Maybe the dumbs should try a budget first.

That will sort of warm up the repubs.

Lonetown on May 8, 2012 at 6:13 PM

…may as well send everybody home til November.

sage0925 on May 8, 2012 at 6:08 PM

A man can dream, can’t he? :)

gravityman on May 8, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Heh, it sure didn’t make the Post-its Obama list.

Schadenfreude on May 8, 2012 at 6:15 PM

The House already passed their own bill to stay the interest rate on Subsidized Stafford loans, set to double from 3.4 to 6.8 percent, for one more year, but President Obama threatened a veto. The GOP version would cut the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a program created as a part of ObamaCare, to pay for the bill, a measure that the White House deemed a “politically-motivated proposal and not the serious response that the problem facing America’s college students deserves.”

“..your move, creep!”

The War Planner on May 8, 2012 at 6:16 PM

The Senate does no legislation, so they are just running up the tab on senate expenses, and produce NOTHING.

portlandon on May 8, 2012 at 6:17 PM

Is that why he’s pushing for a by-end-of-summer Dream Act?

de rigueur on May 8, 2012 at 6:10 PM

A bit of irony. He means after he’s done with DREAM and has the VP slot wrapped up.

a capella on May 8, 2012 at 6:19 PM

This is what always seems to happen. Democrats want to spend money on something so they come up with a bill to do it by increasing taxes. Republicans counter with the same spending, but offset with other cuts. In negotiations Democrats agree to remove the tax if Republicans agree to remove the offsetting cuts. What’s left is a spending bill that is not paid for.

Wigglesworth on May 8, 2012 at 6:22 PM

Ah yes, the US Senate – ably lead by Harry Reid.

GarandFan on May 8, 2012 at 6:23 PM

Obama eats dogs.

Pork-Chop on May 8, 2012 at 6:24 PM

The silly thing about the student loan it the dollars per student are minuscule. Max amount of subsidized Stafford Loan for 1st year student is $3500. Current law on the loan is 3.4% on standard 10 year loan = $34.45 per month, if the rate doubles the payment jumps way up to $40.28 A huge increase of $5.83 per month. Big whoop!

Dasher on May 8, 2012 at 6:29 PM

So, wither the student loan distraction — er, I mean — debate?

I think you mean, “whither the student loan … debate?”

Although it works pretty well the other way, too….

tom on May 8, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Just to be a little more clear:

So, wither the student loan distraction — er, I mean — debate?

I think you mean, “whither the student loan … debate?”

Although it works pretty well the other way, too….

tom on May 8, 2012 at 6:33 PM

tom on May 8, 2012 at 6:34 PM

BTW: This same law expired in 2006, the year my daughter started college, so she indeed got stuck paying 6.8 percent for all four years of her Stafford loans even though the law was reinstated in 2007… to again expire this year.

But if you pay your loans on time they reduce the interest rate to 5.6 percent, so there you go.

Dasher on May 8, 2012 at 6:35 PM

This is what always seems to happen. Democrats want to spend money on something so they come up with a bill to do it by increasing taxes. Republicans counter with the same spending, but offset with other cuts. In negotiations Democrats agree to remove the tax if Republicans agree to remove the offsetting cuts. What’s left is a spending bill that is not paid for.

Wigglesworth on May 8, 2012 at 6:22 PM

The perfect compromise :-)

Dasher on May 8, 2012 at 6:36 PM

Bluff called?

SouthernGent on May 8, 2012 at 6:40 PM

That Harry “mealy mouth” Reid is one of the most powerfully important people in our Government, is a disgrace – to everyone.

How did we get here ?

FlaMurph on May 8, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Is that why he’s pushing for a by-end-of-summer Dream Act?

de rigueur on May 8, 2012 at 6:10 PM

The technical term is “Amnesty”!

Alabama Infidel on May 8, 2012 at 6:42 PM

It’s called laying low, you don’t hear from Pelosi or Reid except for a snippet every other month. They want it to be a Republican Congress. It is quite amazing the Senate does nothing, do they even debate (besides the cspan grandstanding)?

Even the Repubs are lame though, they could be owning the airwaves to show what they stand for and why; but they do not, cause they suck. If you don’t inform the people, they will fill the void with garbage.

John Kettlewell on May 8, 2012 at 6:45 PM

That Harry “mealy mouth” Reid is one of the most powerfully important people in our Government, is a disgrace – to everyone.

How did we get here ?

FlaMurph on May 8, 2012 at 6:41 PM

We got here via an electorate which is largely ignorant, disengaged and apathetic.

Mr. Reid in high office is a crowning achievement for the academics and Social Justice crowd who have infested our educational system and public life for the last 50 years.

Perhaps “We the People” should be replaced with “We the Ignorant and Lazy” next time we try to amend the Constitution.

MessesWithTexas on May 8, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Is it just me, or are all these bills getting voted on, just seem like simple posturing? The ones out of the Senate never make it to the House, and vice versa. And they all know this. Nothing is ever going to get done without one party (preferably, not the progs) holding Congress and the presidency…may as well send everybody home til November.

sage0925 on May 8, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Exactly. But think of how much worse it would be if the Tea Party had not rallied in 2010. Obama would have carte blanche to spend and subvert the Constitution. But great idea: have Congress admit they are stalemated and go home without pay! I’m for it!

Christian Conservative on May 8, 2012 at 7:10 PM

Any rational person will admit that there are MANY jobs for which a college education is a waste of time, money and effort. Examples include:
1. a ruling-class establishment politician (a self-serving, insider-trading, lying, criminal instinct is all that’s needed)
2. a member of the OBOZO regime, in particular, and/or any federal, state or local government bureaucrat, in general
3. a lamestream socialist media “news” anchor (i.e., a ted baxter word-mispronouncing newsreader that spews forth nothing but leftist propaganda – see #4)
4. every other member of the socialist media including leftist blog writers (just repeat what the OBOZO regime, george soros and the JournoList vast left-wing media conspiracy tell you to say)
5. a (self-serving, corrupt, clueless) member of the Federal Reserve
6. a d-cRAT socialist activist excuse for a “judge” (there’s no need for complicated things like the law or the US Constitution when all you do is repeat the lunatic-left extremist ideology – this is especially true for an OBOZO appointee to SCOTUS)
7. a union goon, thug or willing dues-paying member (the concept of “minimum work for maximum pay and benefits” is instinctive in ALL of the naturally lazy and unmotivated)
8. anybody who votes for BIG GOVERNMENT socialism (a “vocational” school is the best place to learn how to live off other peoples’ money as your “career”)
9. a socialist indoctrinator (also called “child molesters” and, strictly as an inside joke, “teachers”)
10. a late-night or an HBO leftist imitation of a “comedian” (even adolescents know all the four-letter words, insults and misogynist slurs that constitute their “humor”)
11. a member of the #occupy bowel movement (even preschoolers understand “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme”)
12. a “community organizer” (they can read The Communist Manifesto and Rules for Radicals without college)
13. a member of any professional sports team (obvious)
14. the head of government motors (just follow orders from their leftist eco-nut master, OBOZO)
15. a crony capitalist pal of OBOZO (they get the taxpayer money regardless of their education)

TeaPartyNation on May 8, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Educated progressives.
 
inthemiddle on May 8, 2012 at 2:12 PM

rogerb on May 8, 2012 at 7:15 PM

If I were McConnell, I would simply state that every demokrat bill will be filibustered until Reid does his Constitutional duty and passes a budget. Boehner should back him up by saying any thing until a budget bill hits the HOR they are dead on arrival.

Let’s see how the demokrat party propagandists would spin that.

jukin3 on May 8, 2012 at 7:22 PM

…Nevada could recall Reid if they wanted to…what choice do the other 49 states and their citizens have while that withered POS destroys this country?

KOOLAID2 on May 8, 2012 at 7:41 PM

If I were McConnell, I would simply state that every demokrat bill will be filibustered until Reid does his Constitutional duty and passes a budget. Boehner should back him up by saying any thing until a budget bill hits the HOR they are dead on arrival.

Let’s see how the demokrat party propagandists would spin that.

jukin3 on May 8, 2012 at 7:22 PM

And this is why McConnell must go. He is complicit in the first complete breakdown of Congress in American history.

Congress has not done its job for 3 years.

For all intents and purposes, we are down to a two-branch government.

cane_loader on May 8, 2012 at 7:58 PM

It’s called laying low, you don’t hear from Pelosi or Reid except for a snippet every other month
John Kettlewell on May 8, 2012 at 6:45 PM

Exactly. Even Chuck-you Schumer seems to be in hibernation. How they got him to keep quiet is a mystery to ponder?

kooly on May 8, 2012 at 8:38 PM

Still no budget from the Reid Senate?

Criminal.

coldwarrior on May 8, 2012 at 8:52 PM

I locked in my student loans for life at 3.25% in 2001. The interest is tax deductible. There are no fees.

This is a completely fabricated “crisis”. It’s such a non-issue, in fact, that the cynicism (rally those students at all cost) can almost be seen oozing from behind Harry Reid’s lectern.

stout77 on May 8, 2012 at 9:21 PM

This is a completely fabricated “crisis”. It’s such a non-issue, in fact, that the cynicism (rally those students at all cost) can almost be seen oozing from behind Harry Reid’s lectern.

stout77 on May 8, 2012 at 9:21 PM

Not totally fabricated. Kids are urged to go to college, so they take on loans they don’t fully understand. The problem is the insane inflation of tuition, fueled by college bureaucracy and unions. The college fatcat administrators and janitor unions are the ones saddling kids with these soaring rates.

Yeah, yeah, I know no one forced them to sign. But still – the tuition bubble is immoral.

cane_loader on May 8, 2012 at 11:29 PM