The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Nation & World

June 19, 2013

Bipartisan proposal on student loans circulating

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

"The last 24 hours, I've spent hours working with interested senators," Reid said Tuesday.

"We're not there yet," he added.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan and White House economic adviser Gene Sperling would have lunch with senators on Thursday, Reid said.

Republicans, meanwhile, have been unrelenting in their criticism of Democrats for opposing tenets of Obama's student loan proposal, chiefly rates that change every year to reflect the markets. Without action, Republicans said, students were left not knowing how much they would be paying for classes this fall.

"It's not fair to these students and not fair to students across the country who need to know what the cost of their loans is going to be and what the interest rate is going to be," Republican House Speaker John Boehner told reporters.

Last year, Congress voted to keep interest rates on subsidized Stafford student loans at 3.4 percent for another year during a heated presidential campaign. Without the attention, education advocates worried that the interest rate would revert back to former rates on July 1, leading to extra out-of-pocket costs for students.

Six sometimes overlapping versions of student loan legislation were being considered in the House and Senate. Two bills — Senate Republicans' and Senate Democrats' proposals — both failed to win 60 votes needed to advance last week, seeming to suggest student loans were going to double.

Other proposals had champions among wings of their parties but only the House had passed student loan legislation that ties interest rates to Treasury notes. That bill drew a veto threat from the White House.

"The House has done its job. It's time for the Senate to do theirs," Boehner said.

It seemed work was afoot behind the scenes.

The bipartisan Senate proposal being circulated with just days to spare before interest rates increased borrowed pieces from the various suggestions.

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