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A Democratic-led effort to keep interest rates on student loans low failed Wednesday to move forward in the Senate, setting the stage for fresh negotiations to help undergraduates avoid rates that are twice last year’s.
The White House-backed proposal from Democratic leaders would have kept interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans at 3.4 percent for another year while lawmakers took up a comprehensive overhaul. The one-year stopgap measure failed to overcome a procedural hurdle as Republicans — and a handful of Democrats — urged colleagues to consider a plan that would link interest rates to the financial markets and reduce Congress’ role in setting students’ borrowing rates.
The Senate vote was 51-49, nine votes short of the 60 votes needed to move forward. The Republican-favored plan was not considered for a vote in the Democrat-led chamber.
Without serious negotiations between the parties — and within a fractured Democratic caucus — students would face higher costs to repay their loans after graduation. Lawmakers pledged to return to negotiations to avert that.
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