Senate Rejects Two Plans to Keep Student Loan Rates From Doubling

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Idaho Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch both voted Thursday to reject a Democratic plan but accept a Republican plan to avert a doubling of student loan interest rates, which could come into effect on Sunday, July 1.

Voting mostly along party lines, the Senate voted 62-34 against the Republican proposal and 51-43 for the Democratic one, both falling short of the 60 votes needed for passage.

The interest rates on federal college loans are scheduled to double for 7.4 million students in July.

Thursday's conflict came from the partisan issue of how to pay for the $6 billion bill. Republicans favored diverting money from a prevention fund under the Obama administration's health care law, and Democrats wanted to eliminate a tax loophole for corporations.

If no measures are passed, on July 1, the 3.4 percent interest rate will double to 6.8 percent. Reuters said one option to extend the low rates would be to add the $6 billion price tag of the bill to the national debt, a move the conservatives would not favor.

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