Republicans demand action on student loan interest rates
July 6th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
9 months 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. RomneyWho

    And the political snow ball just get bigger and bigger and bigger! :(

    July 7, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  2. SB Atl

    They want action only if everyone accepts the way they want it to be. Saying that the GOP makes me nauseous is an understatement.

    July 7, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  3. darknesscrown

    "10 years at 3.4% is $265.73 per month

    10 years at 6,8% is$310.71 per month"

    Are you compounding that interest? Also, I don't think a majority of students have $27,000 or less in student debt. American students shouldn't have to borrow money to go to school anyway. That's the REAL outrage. This should be covered by the government...consider it an investment in the taxpayers...once they purge the public K-12 school system of the garbage and start over, of course. Standards are so low in public K-12 schools it's laughable. College has become a privilege for the wealthy...like so many other things now. The only reason Congress won't get rid of the whole student loan model is because they get a cut of those proceeds in the form of campaign contributions from the banks they represent.

    July 7, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  4. Michelle

    How quick Republicans are to blame the other side when we all know they always put party before people.

    July 7, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  5. sammy750

    2% loan rate, no higher, gives the students a break. Colleges and Universities certainly don't. They continue rate hike every year, while teaching decades old studies.

    July 7, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  6. stanton

    the GOP is up to their old tricks BUSINESS AS USUAL.

    July 7, 2013 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  7. Douglas

    Take your issue and the republicans are on the wrong side of it. The sequester for example. This mess is causing pain in the armed forces with people taking furloughs and pay cuts. The federal court system is suffering greatly. It was all completely unnecessary and all completely the fault of stubborn anti-Obama tea party crazies. This is another issue they can't see their way to act on. Any issue you mention, health care, women's issues, etc. etc, they are completely clueless. Good luck republicans in the next election. Good luck.

    July 7, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  8. just wondering

    Let the Repuglicon War on Education Continue,,, It Works for them

    July 7, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  9. Michael

    Democrats still don't understand Economics 101. Putting a cap on Student Interest rates? LOL.....And if market rates rise above their capped rates, they don't understand that taxpayers foot the bill for that. Democrats just play pass the buck, but they don't understand that eventually SOMEONE has to pay.

    July 7, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  10. Jamie K

    Loki, interest starts accruing the day you take out the loan your first year of college. You aren't required to make payments until you graduate and it's compounding interest.

    July 7, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  11. TooMuch_Nonsense

    This is political grandstanding by both parties. Truth be known we are in worse shape than higher interst student loans. This article is just another diversionary tactic to keep us at each others throats.

    —JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), Wells Fargo (WFC), and Goldman Sachs (GS)—held more than $8.5 trillion in assets at the end of 2011, equal to 56 percent of the U.S. economy, according to the Federal Reserve. That’s up from 43 percent five years earlier.

    Both Revoltingcans and Dummycrats are 1%'rs and this nonsense of blaming each side is getting a bit nauseating. I encourage all to check out your congessmens tax returns before flinging mud.

    July 7, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  12. adoc2be

    I pay 9% on my $135,000 student loan (and have a job to pay for it; no, I'm not a doctor or lawyer). I'm not sure what the issue is here. I'd love to be able to refinance my student loan debt but that's not happening anytime soon (or ever). Suck it up; get a degree that pays. Life is good.

    July 7, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  13. Jocyln

    The main problem with student loans is that once a student picks up the check, they are no longer a student. They are a banking customer and worth money to the system. They stay that way.

    July 7, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  14. HZ

    Mel: "I'm not a republican or conservative but I've always thought that government should not be in the business of financing student loans. It's not the government's role."

    Perhaps but it's a situation where the government is financing stuff like huge corporations making billions which are allowed to pay ZERO IN TAXES so if we drew up a list of all the stuff the government is doing that it shouldn't be doing you'll find a lot of stuff that should be axed before this item is. Your comment reminds me of when people say things like an *award winning* teacher shouldn't get a pay increase but have no problem with the feds spending trillions on a pointless war in Iraq (which we will still be paying off for decades).

    July 7, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  15. Jason

    Every republican is enemy of America. This proves it that they will never let America prosper

    July 7, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  16. YeahRight

    The interest rate should be tied to the actual risk of the loan. For STEM majors, the interest rates should be low. For Humanities and Social Sciences, they should be astronomical.

    July 7, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  17. Mike Northrop

    Republicans need to do less complaining and blaming and do more work.

    July 7, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  18. focus503

    The repukes shouldn't have changed the law in 2005 to make student loans non-dischargeable.

    July 7, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  19. Bruce Kiser

    and this is how to run a country

    July 7, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  20. Joseph Brown

    What...you don't like it???

    These are your leaders...if you don't like them, you may elect others...

    July 7, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  21. Dennis

    Government has made a profit off these loans.

    July 7, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  22. bankrupt due to student loans

    Invest those trillions into our education rather than pentagon budget.

    July 7, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  23. amercon

    The government does not belong in the student loan business. This is one of the reasons for high costs of college.

    July 7, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  24. DJ Reality

    The GOP had plenty of time to do something about student loan rates before they went up.GOP step up and take the blame like adults along with the Democrats. You both screwed up!

    July 7, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  25. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    ...amd nobody believes them. The Party of No seems to be unaware of the fact that in this information era, its old misinforamtion tricks and lies are transparent.

    July 7, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
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