Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked legislation aimed at letting people refinance their student loans at lower rates, a pre-ordained outcome that gave Democrats a fresh election-year talking point against the GOP. The 56-38 vote fell short of the 60 that would have been needed to advance to debate on the measure by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Her bill would have let millions of borrowers, some with years-old debt and interest rates topping 7 percent or more, refinance at today's lower rates. The bill would have been paid for with the so-called Buffett Rule, which sets minimum tax rates for people making over $1 million.
Last year, GOP senators filibustered student interest rate relief before acquiescing to a compromise bill at the 11th hour. That legislation prevented interest rates on new federal loans from doubling to 6.8 percent. But the law didn't do anything to help the 40 million Americans swimming in existing student loan debt, some of whom are paying back loans with rates of up to 10 percent. Warren's bill ... would reduce most of these Americans' federal student loan interest rates to the current rate on new undergraduate loans: 3.86 percent.