Democrats in the Senate unsuccessful sought a two-year extension of the current rates while lawmakers write a comprehensive overhaul of the student loan process.
Republicans, meanwhile, wanted to link interest rates to financial markets. Under Senate Republicans’ plan, interest rates would be based on the 10-year Treasury note and, once the rates were set each year, remain there until the loans were paid off.
The GOP parameters were not that different from President Barack Obama’s budget proposal, which also included interest rates linked to markets, or a version House Republicans have passed through their chamber.
President Barack Obama threatened to veto House Republicans’ legislation.
The Republican chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Rep. John Kline of Minnesota, said he does not plan to revisit his legislation and that it’s up to Obama to negotiate a deal or get the blame for higher rates.
“It leaves us with one body in Congress — the House — having passed legislation … that would provide the long-term fix to the student loan interest rate problem,” Kline told reporters.
That fact is little consolation for students already carrying debt and likely to pick up more before graduation.
“I don’t think that many students know it’s going to increase,” said Kyle Pendergast, the student body president of Indiana’s Purdue University. “I would say that a lot of students won’t notice until they start paying back their loans. And at that point, it will be too late.”
Despite Thursday’s twin failures, lawmakers said this would not be the final word even as the clock ticked toward July 1.