Bill To Allow Refinancing Of Student Loans Dies In Senate

"Who does Washington work for?" asked Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., after her bill that would let people refinance student debt was shot down Wednesday. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

“Who does Washington work for?” asked Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., after her bill that would let people refinance student debt was shot down Wednesday. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

A bill that would have let millions of people refinance their student loans at a lower interest rate has failed in the Senate, after Republicans objected that it included a tax on the wealthy to pay for it. The measure would have allowed people with older loans to benefit from today’s low interest rates.

The bill from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., didn’t get past a procedural vote, falling by a 56-38 vote. Called the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, it was shot down days after President Obama urged Congress to help ease the burden of student debt.

Noting that her bill had bipartisan support, Warren said today that she would continue the effort to help “40 million Americans out there who are trying to deal with $1.2 trillion in student loan debt.”

Warren said people with student loans should be on the same footing as homeowners and small businesses that are allowed to refinance their loan obligations.

“Republicans objected to the so-called Buffett Rule, which would increase income tax rates on the rich who make most of their money off investments, so that they would pay the same rate as those earning wages,” NPR’s S.V. Date reports for our Newscast unit.

“Only three Republicans voted with Democrats to proceed with the bill,” Date says, “not enough to clear the Senate’s 60-vote threshold.”

After the vote, Warren asked a pointed question of her colleagues:

“Today is a really good day for billionaires. For the 40 million people dealing with student loan debt, it wasn’t such a good day. This raises the fundamental question: Who does Washington work for? Does it work for those who can hire armies of lobbyists to make sure that every single loophole in the tax code is protected for them? Or does it work for young people who are trying to get started in life?”

On Monday, Obama unveiled a plan to ease the burden on those paying student loans, signing an executive order that caps borrowers’ payments at 10 percent of their monthly income.

As NPR’s Anya Kamenetz noted, the president’s plan expands the Pay as You Earn program, which is hobbled by a serious flaw: “Few people have actually signed up for it.”

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.image
Read original article – Published June 11, 2014 1:10 PM ET
Bill To Allow Refinancing Of Student Loans Dies In Senate

Recent headlines

  • dollar bill money macro

    Per diems driving special session costs

    Lawmakers who represent areas outside Juneau receive $295 for each day of the special session. Juneau lawmakers receive $221.25 per day.
  • Caroline Hoover proudly pins an Alaska Territorial Guard medal on the front of her father's parka during an official discharge ceremony held Oct. 17 in Kipnuk, Alaska. David Martin is one of three surviving members of the Alaska Territorial Guard's Kipnuk unit. A total of 59 residents of Kipnuk, who volunteered to defend Alaska in the event of a Japanese invasion during World War II, were recognized during the ceremony. Kipnuk residents who served with the Alaska Territorial Guard from 1942-1947 were members of a U.S. Army component organized in response to attacks by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor. (Photo by Jerry Walton, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs cultural resource manager and native liaison/public domain/Wikimedia Commons)

    16 Alaska Territorial Guard vets to be honored in Anchorage

    Sixteen veterans of the Alaska Territorial Guard will be honored at a discharge ceremony today. Four of them are from Western Alaska.
  • Don Andrew Roguska looks out from an upstairs window of an historic Juneau house he bought in 2016 to restore. Zoning regulations have prevented him from rebuilding in the same style. (Photo by Jacob Resneck/KTOO)

    Juneau mulls relaxing zoning rules for historic houses

    The historic houses in Juneau and Douglas were predominately built by miners and fishermen long before today's zoning was put into place. That's prevented homeowners from restoring or rebuilding homes in these neighborhoods without running into conflict with the city's zoning laws -- a temporary fix may be on the way.
  • Young joins Afghanistan war skeptics in Congress

    Alaska U.S. Rep. Don Young wants to know why Americans are still fighting in Afghanistan. He has co-sponsored a bill that would end funding for the war in a year, unless the president and Congress affirm the need for it.
X