Showdown Looms as Senate Kills a Student Loan Bill

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Does this sound familiar? Both sides of the Senate agree they want to extend low interest rates on student loan payments, but they disagree on how to pay for it it, and after Republicans blocked a Democratic bill extending low rates, they're set to double in July. 

CBS has the most comprehensive rundown on the failure of the Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act of 2012, but the bottom line is this:  "Barring an extension, the rate on new loans for undergraduates would increase from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent this July," and the Democratic-sponsored bill, which needed 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster, failed in a 52-45 vote along party lines. CBS explains: "That bill, put forth by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and backed by the White House, would require some privately owned companies to pay higher payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare," which was a non-starter for Republicans.

An alternate bill, from Sen. Lamar Alexander, takes money from the Obama Administration's healthcare law to pay for the lower rates, but it faces almost certain defeat in the Senate, which will put the two sides in a stalemate. If you remember our two near misses with government shutdown last year after this Congress couldn't decide on how to pay for things, it won't come as a surprise if this student loan debate goes right down to the wire, and maybe comes up with no solution at all.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.