Senate Republicans voted unanimously to block the Democratic bill to extend a lowered interest rate on student loans, 52-45, with one voting “present.” (Sen. Reid voted no so that he can bring the vote back up at a later date.)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had made a very generous offer to Senate Republicans on extending the low interest rate on student loans: if they agreed to drop their filibuster of the Democratic bill, he’d give them a vote on the Republican plan. Straight up or down votes for the Senate to decide which approach it approved.
“If Republicans would stop filibustering our legislation … if they want some other way to pay for it, let’s take look at it,” Reid said. “Let them offer that. The stakes in this debate are too high to let partisanship get in the way.”
Republicans didn’t take him up on that offer, refusing to go on the record on the House bill. They say they support an extension of the 3.4 percent interest rate on federally subsidized student loans. But they don’t like the Democrats’ plan to close the corporate tax loophole to pay for the extension. (And, yes, it has to be paid for while Republicans still say that tax cuts for the wealthy don’t have to be paid for.) In case you missed it, de facto Republican leader in the House, Paul Ryan, has a simple answer to whether he would consider closing this loophole to help students: “Nope.”
The most recent polling shows clear support for the Democrats’ position of ending this loophole for the wealthy to help students: “Fully half of respondents said they favor Democrats’ plans to pay for these student loans, while only 34 percent favored the GOP’s approach.”
But, of course, what the majority of Americans want doesn’t matter to Republicans. For the umpteenth time, they did what the very wealthy demanded.