- House Democrats trying to force unemployment insurance vote
- Sen. Claire McCaskill to tackle sex assault at college next
- Judge’s order preserves NSA surveillance records
- Refurbished Pollock masterpiece goes on display
- Iditarod becomes mad dash for Nome
- ‘Burger King baby’ now seeks birth mom on Facebook
- Study: 2 percent of Americans have new hips, knees
- Friend: Pistorius shot gun out car without warning
- States wrestle with developing, restricting drones
- Japan marks 3rd anniversary of tsunami disasters
Blame game escalates; student loan bill fails again in Senate
Senators are going back to the drawing board after another attempt to address the July 1 increase in college-loan interest rates failed Wednesday and left millions of students faced with even more debt as they head into the fall academic term.
A bill to cut interest rates from 6.8 percent back to 3.4 percent, supported by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and other Democrats, was blocked by a filibuster and fell eight votes shy of the 60 needed to advance.
Even if it passed, the measure would have been nothing more than a stopgap measure, locking in the 3.4 percent rate for another year and ensuring that lawmakers would be debating the issue again in 2014.
But leaders in the House — which has passed a long-term solution that would tie interest rates for federal Stafford loans to financial markets — accused Senate Democrats of playing “political games” while leaving students out in the cold.
“We have a near-perfect opportunity for bipartisan, bicameral agreement on an issue affecting students and their families, yet Majority Leader Reid continues to force action on a shortsighted plan that is completely out of touch with the priorities of the White House and the American people,” said Rep. John Kline, Minnesota Republican and chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
“A cadre of Senate Democrats are completely unwilling to compromise. It’s time to stop playing spiteful political games,” he said.
The White House has expressed support for the type of measure passed by the House. So, too, have some Senate Democrats such as West Virginia’s Joe Manchin III, who has co-sponsored a bipartisan bill to tie rates to the market while establishing a cap at 8.25 percent.
But that approach has been a nonstarter with Mr. Reid and a majority of Senate Democrats, who in recent months have proposed long-term fixes that call for the government to impose lower interest rates on students and make up the lost revenue by closing a variety of tax loopholes.
On Wednesday night, however, Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, hosted a meeting of several key lawmakers of both parties. According to reports, the Manchin plan was the basis for the talks and a deal could be made public as early as Thursday.
One Democrat and one independent joined all 46 Republicans in their filibuster, and Mr. Reid ended up switching his vote at the end as a parliamentary tactic to be able to hold a revote later. That left the final tally at 51 votes in favor of the bill and 49 opposed.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.
Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.
He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Obama heads to NYC to raise money for Democrats
- White House: Exporting natural gas to Europe, Ukraine not the answer
- China's President Xi urges Obama to show restraint with Russia, urges diplomatic solution
- Russia besieges Crimea as U.S. seeks diplomacy; Putin remains undeterred by Obama's sanctions
- Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk to meet with Obama at White House
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
- FCC targets black conservative in TV station fight
- Hillary Clinton campaign received funds from Jeffrey Thompson
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- President Obama goes 'Between Two Ferns' to pitch Obamacare
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- EDITORIAL: Senate Democrats pointless all-night global warming talkathon
- CPAC 2014: Despite Ben Carson's speech, gay marriage mostly took a back seat at CPAC
- CARNES: Kissinger's flawed and offensive analysis of Ukraine
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Hard-fought congressional election in Florida is seen as a bellwether
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again