GOP urges Obama to push Senate on lowering student loan rates

July 6, 2013 at 10:23 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 6 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., Saturday called on President Barack Obama to urge Senate Democrats to pass a bill that would halve student loan rates.

Delivering the weekly Republican address, Jenkins accused Senate Democrats of allowing rates to rise on federally backed college loans when lower rates expired July 1, ABC News Radio reported.

Republicans had proposed a bill that Jenkins said was similar to a plan by Obama to tie interest rates for student loans to rates for Treasury bonds.

The Senate rejected both plans, Jenkins said, and failed to offer an alternate plan before the July 1 deadline.

Senate Democrats had wanted to extend the 3.4 percent rate for another year, but were unable to reconcile the differences between the bills, The Hill reported.

Consequently, rates doubled.

"Because of this inaction, millions of undergraduates who want to take out a subsidized Stafford loan are now being told they will have to pay an interest rate that's double what they were expecting," said Jenkins, who has two children in college. "That's just not right."

She called on the president to "do his part by urging his fellow Democrats in the Senate to work with us. We will not let up until they agree to do the right thing."

The White House has said it is confident Congress will enact legislation restoring the lower rate, and that the rate will be retroactive to July 1.

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