Senate Democrats’ one-year student loan fix was filibustered Wednesday, with 51 senators voting to move forward with it and 49 senators voting to block it.
The measure would have reverted student loan interest rates to 3.4 percent for one year after they doubled for new loans last week. It would have been funded by scaling back a tax loophole for individual retirement accounts (IRAs) that mostly benefits high earners.
Senate Democrats have been divided over how to proceed. Three of them partnered with Republicans to cosponsor an alternate proposal with a permanent fix, which ties the interest rate to the 10-year Treasury note, with some adjustments. That plan resembles proposals put forth by the White House and passed by the House.
The White House nevertheless came out for Senate Democrats’ one-year freeze before the procedural vote Wednesday.
Republicans, eager to make inroads with younger voters, have relentlessly exploited Democratic splits on the issue. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) spokesman Don Stewart tweeted the following before the vote:
— Stew (@StewSays) July 10, 2013
If Congress does not act to fix the rate, the average student borrower is projected to pay an additional $2,600 in interest over a decade.