Transportation, student loan bill passes

June 29, 2012 at 4:23 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, June 29 (UPI) -- Congress Friday passed a bill to extend federal highway programs and low student-loan interest rates.

The bill, passed by a vote of 373-52 in the House and 79-14 in the Senate, also extends the National Flood Insurance Program for five years, The Hill reported.

All 52 "no" votes in the House were from Republicans, while 23 Republicans joined Democrats in approving the bill in the Senate, marking the final piece of major legislation expected to pass before the November elections, The Hill said.

Rates for federally backed student loans will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent without legislative action, and the transportation funding would expire soon without the bill, which extends it through 2014.

"We are pleased the Congress has finally passed a bipartisan bill to stop student loan interest rates from doubling and put Americans to work rebuilding our nation's roads and bridges," a statement issued by the White House said. "Thanks to Congress heeding that call today, millions of American students will avoid $1,000 debt hike while millions of construction workers will be able to stay on the job."

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