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. ThinkAgain

    "The line has been drawn...either you're a D or a R. "

    You have Repubs to thank for that. Why? Because they've got NOTHING to offer our country and can only hope to make people so disappointed in government they don't vote. it all started when they lost to President Obama the first time (and it continues since they lost to him the SECOND time): All this nonsense about wanting "my country back" because there was a black man in the White House.

    You Repubs need to start putting country before party – PERIOD!

    July 7, 2013 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  2. Damb S

    Republicans demand action now! The rates must climb higher. Who do these students think they are? Sons and daughters of rich republican supporters? You donate to their campaign coffers? Pay up and pay hard. The rich need their interest paid now!

    July 7, 2013 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  3. Ohreally

    The GOP is demanding action? Really? They had the chance to fix this before the holiday and couldn't be bothered. Don't put it on the Dems.

    July 7, 2013 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  4. Name Uche Agonsi

    Its funny. The only difference in governance between US & Egypt is that politicians in US dont invade the streets wielding guns & shooting people. The parties in US are at each others necks & are choking all of us. Now how could it be that a party wins the Presidential Election & the looser's policies would be implemented. It never happened in politics, even in US, before. The best the loosing party gets is compromise arrangements in some issues. Its equally worrisome the Repubs refused to pay taxes/ hikes, only to now insist that poor students be paying interest without limits even when market rates are intolerable. The whole damned idea is FUNNY.

    July 7, 2013 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  5. ThinkAgain

    Repubs demanding again .... I don't want interest rates for students to go up, but I'm sick and tired of the Repubs "demanding" all the time.

    Ours is a representative democracy – but you'd never know it by how the Repubs behave ...

    July 7, 2013 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  6. John

    We pay these morons how much? Why? this has to end. We are getting nothing for all the money we are foolish enough to pay them. If we worked and said things like these guys do at work, how long would we be employed? thought so. So the big question is why do we put up with it? all we need to do is to get enough Americans to go to Washington and go into the chambers and quite litterally throw these folk out and then lock the doors and tell them they are not needed. And then tell the accounting office to stop their pay right now. And make sure they do so. Enough already. I'm tired of the childish behavour and paying for it. If we can't find intelligent, compassionate and compromisable people then keep the chambers closed until we can. I bet that both parties would be ready to work together and get things done if they knew that they were out of power and would remain so until they do what is right. We should not have to have this divided conflict.They are doing a great disservice to us all.
    we all work so hard to give a good life to our families and then we have all this hate and unwillingness to work together for the American people. if that is not a fire-ing or impeachable offence, I sure can't think of a better one.We should not have to wait for elections when all of this is going on. We don't have the time to wait for their sense of what's right to kick in. It's time for us to now act.

    July 7, 2013 03:45 am at 3:45 am |
  7. Thomas

    Why don't they barrow the money for collage from Mitt Romney's son's at 10% ?

    July 7, 2013 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  8. independant jim

    the object is to price middle income family's out of education .isn't one of the main goals as presidential candidate Perry and all the3 other GOP candidates said we. " need to eliminate the Department of education ..the EPA and some other department "

    July 7, 2013 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  9. Peter

    Why did Jenkins agree to leave for the 4th of july holiday WITHOUT reaching a deal... how COULD she?!?!!!?

    July 7, 2013 05:02 am at 5:02 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas, I think it was called SEQUESTER!!!! Being a politician is like driving a car.. D is to drive forward and the R is to go into reverse...

    July 7, 2013 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  11. The sad state of affairs

    For all the college kids that voted for the Obama "change" I hope the rates triple.....

    July 7, 2013 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  12. Uh-Clem

    Jenkins faults Senate Democrats? Bemoans cliffs and deadlines? Yeah, sure! It's the interest rate that's the issue now stupid. Why can't some people see that investing in the business leaders of tomorrow is best for the country instead of making education affordable only for moneyed families?

    July 7, 2013 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  13. Jim

    Obstructionist Senate Democrats strike again. Even when Obama and the Republicans can find agreement, Dirty Harry and his ilk still make it impossible to get it done.

    July 7, 2013 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  14. Jmk

    Rep. Lynn Jenkins are you trying to replace Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin as most misinformed/misleading persons of the year? What about death panels and autism caused by vaccinations?

    July 7, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  15. George

    George Zimmerman doubled college loan interest rates in self defense.

    July 7, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  16. Maxx

    GOP wants action. That's and oxymoron if there ever was one.

    July 7, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  17. Rick1948

    Loans without caps is just an open invitation to banks to start raping kids of their financial future. There needs to be a cap and the bill needs to set them for a very long time, so students loan rates are not at the whim of the next bunch of crazies that gets elected.

    July 7, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  18. zandhcats

    I bet your two kids in college don't need to worry about the student loan.

    July 7, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  19. Hap

    Time for this to end. This is the republican deficit reduction plan: keep attaching unreasonable conditions to every proposal knowing it won't get passed therefore saving the money not spent, or in this case making a few bucks. They're doing this while only talking about the reasonable parts of the legislation so they appear to be doing their jobs. Most of the Bills the House passes are all for show such as repealing Obama care 30+ times, abortion measures, etc...Our only hope is for moderate republicans to take their party back from the so called neo-cons, or tea baggers since they're assured control of the house through their gerrymandering for the foreseeable future. I think I see some cracks forming within the party, scuttling the farm bill hissed a lot of the old guard republicans off.

    July 7, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  20. BostonBruins02125

    The Republicans demand action?? You must be kidding! Senator Elizabeth Warren has the real ideas to make this work for students, sadly the Republicans sided with the big banks and only have their interests in mind... To the detriment of the future of our country!!

    July 7, 2013 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  21. Ray E. (Georgia)

    This comes under the heading of people depending too much on the Government. Another "Brainless" Program put in place by "Uneducated Idiots". Don't worry. Your "Nanny" will finally get the rates set where once again the Taxpayer will fund your party. I just hope you will be able to get a job after you graduate. You are going to graduate, aren't you?

    July 7, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  22. solutionman

    much like an american express bill, just dont pay them. the youth of this nation is so screwed yet the vast majority of people my age continue to believe that if they work hard and pay half their salary over to the tax man, they're going to be rich someday. how sad a belief that is. the way i see it, im never getting social security, despite having paid into the system for the last 13 years, starting as a freshman in hs, so im not paying back my low 5 digit loan amount. its more than fair. if barry o has a problem, let them come after me. debtor's prison or bust.

    July 7, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  23. Rembrant

    GOP and action in one sentence... hilarious!!

    July 7, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  24. vincent

    We keep paying them to get nothing done. Typical for us Americans. Then we sit back and blame Workers for doing their job.

    July 7, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  25. Disheartened GOPer

    What a sad little irrelevant political party the Republicans have become.

    July 7, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
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