Congress May Be Getting Closer to a Deal to Keep Student Loan Rates Low
The Senate is reportedly getting close to a deal to keep student loan interest rates at 3.4 percent rather than letting them double to 6.8 percent on July 1. One sign that there may really be a compromise coming is that the proposals aren't going to lend themselves to the straightforward terms of political advertising:
Included will be a proposal originally advanced by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) to raise premiums paid by businesses for federal pension insurance--a plan that may be accepted by executives because it will be paired with new rules allowing them to lower pension liabilities, according to a top Senate Democratic aide.
I get awfully nervous any time anyone starts talking about monkeying around with pension rules, and that includes Harry Reid. It's hard to know without more information, but if this in any way trades affordable student loans for less retirement security, it isn't a great deal. Republican proposals that might be in the deal include:
shortening the period during which part-time students would be eligible for federally subsidized loans; limiting the ability of states to recoup Medicaid costs through taxes on providers, which would lead to a slight reduction in Medicaid use and, therefore, lower costs to the federal government; improving coordination with states and local governments to reduce Social Security overpayments.
Senate staffers are negotiating this now. That means we need to keep up the pressure to get a good bill. Democrats have to stay strong and keep Republicans from, yet again, trading one middle-class sacrifice for another while corporations get off scot-free.