Congress sparring over student loan rates
The Federal Reserve has released new numbers painting an even clearer picture of just how much the cost of education is burdening Americans. This, as lawmakers on Capitol Hill struggle to reach consensus on how to keep current student loan interest rates flat.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The amount of money Americans owe toward college loans has increased by more than $660 billion over the last decade.
In its quarterly report released Thursday, the Federal Reserve Bank says student loan debt has reached $904 billion, a $30 billion increase from just last quarter. But even with these glaring figures, partisan politics is preventing Congress from reaching a deal to keep student loan interest rates flat.
"Unfortunately, it's politics as usual in Washington. While there's an agreement that student loans shouldn't be doubled. They're bickering about what is the best way to pay for that is," said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
The House passed a bill last month that would extend the reduced interest rate on federally subsidized student loans, paid for by repealing a part of the Obama Administration's 2010 health care overhaul. Thursday, House GOP leadership urged the President to reconsider their plan, blaming Senate democrats for the impasse.
"As has been the case actually throughout the 112 Congress, it is the Senate and the Senate majority in particular that have been the roadblock," said Representative Nan Hayworth.
The Democrat-led Senate did fail to pass a plan last week, rejecting the House republican bill. In turn, GOP senators shot down the democratic bill, which would pay for the lower interest rates through a tax-hike on the rich.
Gillibrand said, "I don't think the republicans are serious about making sure these loans don't double in size. It's going to mean a thousand dollars more per student to pay because of this and it's not affordable."
Meanwhile, that rate on subsidized loans is set to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1st.
"I don't think anybody wants to see that happen. We just need to come together, sit down at the negotiation table and work," North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan said.