GOP blocks Senate debate on Dem student loan bill

GOP blocks Senate debate on Democratic student loan bill in dispute over paying for it

Associated Press
GOP blocks Senate debate on Dem student loan bill
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FILE - In this March 13, 2012, file photo Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., joins students at a Capitol Hill news conference to announce the collection of over 130,000 letters to Congress to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling this July. The Senate planned a Tuesday May 8, 2012 roll call on a plan, which would extend today's 3.4 percent interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans for another year. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republicans have blocked the Senate from debating a Democratic bill keeping interest rates on college loans from doubling this summer for 7.4 million students.

Republicans say they support heading off higher rates on subsidized Stafford loans. They oppose how Democrats would pay for the measure — raising payroll taxes on high-earning stockholders of some privately owned corporations.

The vote was largely symbolic because the measure had no chance of approval in the Republican-run House. It was also designed with November's elections in mind because it could produce fodder for Democratic commercials against GOP senators.

Republicans want a vote on their own bill freezing interest rates and paid for by abolishing a health care fund.

Tuesday's vote was 52-45 to debate the measure — eight votes short of the 60 needed.

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