Dueling Student Loan Bills Stall In Senate
Neither measure reached the 60-vote threshold needed to delay an interest rate increase for 7.4 million students with college loans. Republicans want to pay for it by abolishing a preventive health program in the health care law; Democrats proposed raising Medicare and Social Security payroll taxes on high-income owners of some privately held companies.
The Associated Press: Senate Rejects GOP, Dem Plans On Student Loans
The Senate rejected dueling Democratic and Republican plans on Thursday for averting a July 1 doubling of interest rates on federal college loans for 7.4 million students, pushing back efforts to resolve the election-season showdown until next month. … Both measures rejected Thursday would delay the interest rate increase for a year at a cost of $6 billion, but each side's bill was paid for in a way the other couldn't tolerate. Democrats proposed raising Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes on high-earning owners of some privately held companies and professional practices, while Republicans would abolish an Obama preventive health program (Fram, 5/24).
The Washington Post: Senate Fails To Agree On Student-Loan-Rate Freeze
Republicans said the Democrats’ proposal amounted to a tax increase on those best positioned create jobs in the sluggish economy. They also argued that payroll taxes are earmarked to fund Medicare, and any new revenue should go to the retiree-health program. ... The Republican proposal would have paid for the loan-rate freeze by eliminating the preventative health-care fund created in the 2010 health-care act. Republicans call it a slush fund and have pointed to what they say are misuses in its spending (Helderman, 5/24).
Politico Pro: Senate Votes To Keep Prevention Intact
Sen. Tom Harkin's Prevention and Public Health Fund will live to see another day. The Senate on Thursday defeated a Republican-written bill, 34-62, that would have gutted the Affordable Care Act's investment in public health programs to offset the cost of keeping federal student loan interest rates from doubling in July (DoBias, 5/24).
Meanwhile, in other congressional action -
The Associated Press: Senate Panel Approves $631 Billion Defense Bill
The (Armed Services) committee followed Obama's lead on overall spending, but broke with the administration and the Pentagon on several policies. The panel rejected a call for another round of domestic military base closings and rebuffed the Pentagon's plan to raise enrollment fees for the military's health care program (Cassata, 5/24).