Republicans demand action on student loan interest rates
July 6th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
5 years ago

Republicans demand action on student loan interest rates

(CNN) - Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas, faulted Senate Democrats on Saturday for this week's hike in student loan interest rates and urged the upper chamber to pass legislation that resolves the issue as soon as the holiday recess ends.

"For too long, politicians have been in charge of setting these rates, and we keep coming back to cliffs and deadlines like this one," Jenkins said in the GOP weekly address. "Paying for college is difficult enough without all this uncertainty. I have two kids in college, I know how hard it can be."

The interest rates on some student loans officially doubled Monday - to 6.8% from 3.4% - after the Senate failed to reach a compromise by the July 1 deadline.

The hike hits about seven million new subsidized Stafford loans this year for middle- and low-income students, but does not apply to existing loans.

Negotiators are stuck largely on the question of whether to require an overall cap above which interest rates on new loans could not rise.

Top Senate Democrats want a cap in place to protect students if interest rates spike. That is at odds with the slightly different proposals from President Barack Obama and various congressional Republicans, which are tied to 10-year Treasury bond rates and would include charges for administrative costs but would not include caps.

Republicans, who prefer a more market-based approach, often point out that the White House's proposal falls more in line with their own.

"When President Obama proposed letting the markets set interest rates instead, the Republican-led House passed a bill reflecting his plan," Jenkins said. "Republicans in the Senate came to the table with similar ideas. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats attacked the president's plan, refused to work with us, and allowed this rate hike to take effect, leaving for the July 4th holiday without passing a solution."

Senators worked through last week to try to reach a deal, but lawmakers from both parties ultimately predicted an agreement would not be made in time.

Nevertheless, many of those same senators said they hope to finalize an agreement shortly after the break and have it apply retroactively so students are not hurt by the temporary hike.

Another disagreement centers on whether the legislation is revenue-neutral. Senate Democrats say the government should not earn any money or pay down the deficit from the loans they provide, something that would happen under the other proposals.

"Republicans continue to insist that we reduce the deficit on the backs of students and middle-class families," Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said a week before the deadline.

- CNN's Ted Barrett and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Congress • Education • Republicans
soundoff (540 Responses)
  1. oreo

    Government destroyed housing market and it on it's way to destroy healthcare. Government destroyed education years ago. Everything the government gets involved in costs more and we get less of it.

    July 6, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  2. nytw

    @jootjoint, if you can't afford to send you kids to college that is your problem. Quit taking my tax dollars to send your kids to college. If they can't afford it they shouldn't be going.

    July 6, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  3. Jerry

    Is she kidding? Sense when have the GOP been worried about anything concerning the low income people. They would prefer the drop dead.

    July 6, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  4. Bill

    Great photo, it really shows how "ignorant" the GOP really is! Love it!

    July 6, 2013 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  5. Joe

    What we have here is nothing but knee jerk reactions of those who hate the GOP. The GOP house has passed the proposal made by Obama. The GOP senators are ready to pass it also. The Senate Dems like having this issue come up for debate every year so they can use it for politics. If you like having your debt be a pawn in elections side with the Senate Dems on this. Otherwise side with Obama and the GOP and get this issue closed and done so people can get on with their lives.

    July 6, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  6. HawkinWind

    This post is for pro-abortion Christians; did you know that Jesus prophesied about abortion and the killing of older people as he was being led to be crucified?

    Taken from the gospel of Luke:
    A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.
    For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed! For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

    July 6, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  7. Norma Vessels

    The Democrats had already placed a Bill on the student loans, but it was out voted, as is always the case with the Republicans. This post is misleading about who is stalling the Bill on the student loans. We know what really happened, so stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Shame on you, Republicans, trying to blame the Democrats for your sorry behavior.

    July 6, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  8. zappo15

    The Reoublicans are determined to turn the US into a third world country. Then they and their buddies can make a bigger bundle. What is it all worth?

    July 6, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  9. Joe

    The GOP house passes Obama's proposal. The GOP senators agree to pass same. The Senate Dems refuse to pass it, wanting to do this same act year after year for politics.

    And some here say the GOP is obstructing this? LOL

    July 6, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    What a joke. All the Democrats have to do is give in to the House GOP (Greedy Old Pigs) and balance the budget on the backs of college students by raising the student interest rate to a floating rate that gives the government a profit. College students now! But not a penny more from the super wealthy. Not a penny from the 10% that has increased its wealth while the rest of us have lost wealth since the GOP began cutting taxes on the rich in 1981.

    July 6, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  11. Leo Frost

    I'm pretty sure a democrat was trying to push this point three weeks ago and was shot down by the gop. Its kinda amusing that she is blaming the democrats

    July 6, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  12. Anton

    the same rethuglican's that stopped this from being done a few weeks ago???

    nice try thugs...

    July 6, 2013 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  13. Revolution

    War in the USA coming sooon

    July 6, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  14. Tony Torres

    The GOP is counting on most people not really pay attention and only hear their BS and not see the real truth. The GOP must go in starting in 2014. It is imperative for the sake of the USA.

    July 6, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  15. winchester74

    The Republicans blame the Democrats for not signing onto their plan to screw the students. All they need to do is charge the same rate on student loans that the Fed charges the international banks that borrow billions. That interest rate is below 1%.

    July 6, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  16. Floyd from Illinois

    The GOP can have their bill with the addition of a cap. Is such protection for Americans REALLY so toxic to Republicans that they can't begin to accept it? Or are the so beholden to their banking masters that they HAVE TO draw the line at anything that ight threaten their usury?

    Once again, the GOP shows who owns them.

    July 6, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  17. winchester74

    The Republicans blame the Democrats for not signing onto their plan to shaft the students. All they need to do is charge the same rate on student loans that the Fed charges the international banks that borrow billions. That interest rate is below 1%.

    July 6, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  18. American

    Let me get this straight...when Republicans object to the policies of the President, they are obstructionists. When they support a measure put forward by POTUS, as the student loans is, Democrats still attack them. Hooooray Liberal logic!!!

    July 6, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  19. lynn

    The good Republican quickly feels the pain when she has 2 kids in college, otherwise the little people can lump it.

    July 6, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  20. sawtooth

    Go back to the days when an education meant something, serious students earned their way thru college, or daddy paid them to go, to get them out of the house. Me I went into the Navy to earn some college money, liked it so much I stayed for 20, then found another career in law enforcement, and found out I didn't need no college degree

    July 6, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  21. American

    Democrats can't really be as dumb and clueless as the commenters on here, right? Oh wait...hope & change! They really are that blind

    July 6, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  22. Al1900

    Since when do Republicans care about education and interest rates on student loans? Oh yeah, mid-term elections will be coming up soon.

    July 6, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  23. Mopery

    As a country, we're not as evenly split as the media leads us to believe. Most of us would agree on a lot more issues than we would disagree on, our goals in life are seldom dissimilar. We all want to be free, we all want to be happy, we all want to live our lives on our own terms. Unfortunately we have become pawns of career politicians, whose ears bend only to whichever corporate lobbyist holds their receipt. Freedom bought and sold to the highest bidder. No money? No freedoms! Laws will be enforced, all laws, even retroactively. They're collecting everything about everyone, we have all become transparent points of statistical data. The new slave state will consist of tens of millions of new prisoners, convicted of breaking even the slightest law whether knowingly or not. No connections? Welcome to corporate enslavement!

    July 6, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  24. Thinker

    Ms Six< I spent 20 years working with the disabled, with a sociology degree. You have a lot of nerve saying that the area a person choses to study is their business, not yours. Just because you lack the ability to translate your degree giving you a marketable skill, does not mean that everyone has your problem

    July 6, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  25. TheDoood

    Why charge interest at all? Oh yeah, I forgot, this is America, we're not interested in helping anyone – especially poorer students/families – unless we can make money doing it. Capitalism at its very best!

    July 6, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
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