Mitch McConnell on Senate floor: Student loan reform should have been a “slam dunk”

Mitch McConnellSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took to the Senate floor Thursday morning to chastise Democrats for completely disregarding even the president’s wishes for student loan reform, commenting that it should have been a non-controversial “slam dunk” issue.

His comments preceded the chamber’s votes on two different bills, both of which would prevent the interest rates on federal student loans from doubling on July 1, however neither of them managed to muster the 60 votes needed to end debate on the bills.

“Both the President and Republicans want to prevent rates from going up in July,” McConnell said in his speech.  “And the ideas Republicans have put forward on this issue are actually quite similar to what the President has already proposed.  So this should’ve been a slam dunk.”

The Republicans’ bill, which was introduced by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and is similar to the bill the House passed last month, was shot down by a vote of 57-40. The Democrats’ bill, introduced by Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), also failed to clear the procedural vote to end debate on the legislation by a vote of 51-46. Their bill would have only kept the student loan interest rates down for two more years.

McConnell described the Democrats’ plan as one that “fails the very benchmarks of the President himself,” noting that the plan would ultimately cost taxpayers more than $8 billion dollars while only saving students an average of $6 a month.

“We owe [students] certainty and stability, and permanent reform along the lines Republicans and President Obama have called for will do that,” McConnell said.  “So it’s time for Democrats in Washington to put the campaigning aside and work with us to enact just that type of reform.”

According to the nonprofit organization American Student Assistance, nearly 60 percent of college students take out loans to pay for college tuition. In addition, the amount of money that Americans owe in student loans is now greater than that owed in credit card debt.

The interest rates on student loans were set to double last year, however Congress delayed the increase by a year in a last-minute vote.

Comments

Polititainment

Boehner traps Behar in headlock

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and libera comedian and talk show host Joy Behar took an unusual selfie over the weekend when the two crossed paths at a restaurant in the Hamptons over the weekend.

Jenner is new face of Rock the Vote
Calling her  “a powerhouse figure among millennials,” Rock the Vote enlisted the help of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” star and fashion model Kendall Jenner for National Voter Registration Day. “I’m here in Europe for fashion week, but back in the U.S. it is National Voter Registration Day and I’m using Rock the Vote’s new mobile […]
Stewart talks security at '1600 Jump St'
Jon Stewart brought up the two recent White House security breaches on “The Daily Show” Monday night, seeming both amused and baffled by the entire situation. “Wow! Good thing we don’t treat White House intruders the way we do Cuban refugees because then, when that guy reached the house, put his foot on the ground, […]
Gordon-Levitt eyes Snowden role
Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is expected to play Edward Snowden in an Oliver Stone-directed movie about Snowden’s life, Variety reports. “The Snowden Files” would be based on the book about the NSA leaks written by Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, which is considered the closest thing to a documented account of the events. Stone acquired the rights to […]
'Madam Secretary' wants an ideal D.C.
CBS’s new show “Madam Secretary” may be inspired by some of the most polarizing and entrenched political figures in Washington D.C., but the showrunners and cast say they want to portray a less polarizing and negative D.C. on screen. POLITICO’s Playbook Lunch on Friday featured show creator Barbara Hall, executive producers Morgan Freeman and Lori […]

White House

Republicans face stakes of biblical proportions on immigration, Biden says

Vice-President Joe Biden told a crowd celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month that the GOP's direction on immigration reform is of biblical proportions.

Lois Lerner speaks: ‘I didn’t do anything wrong’

Former IRS official Lois Lerner has opened up to the public in a lengthy interview with POLITICO.

Michelle Obama says Americans ‘take for granted’ Obama’s presidency
First Lady Michelle Obama proudly defended her husband during a speech at the opening reception of the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum, telling the audience that people take her husband “for granted.” “Just think about how different our country looks to children growing up today. Think about how our kids take for granted that a […]
Security breaches prompt more White House security
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Secret Service tightened security outside the White House after an embarrassing breach in which a man with a knife scaled a fence, ran across the lawn and made it all the way inside before agents stopped him. Increased surveillance and more officer patrols are among the measures that Secret Service Director Julia Pierson ordered. […]
He gaffes again! Biden praises disgraced former Senator Bob Packwood

Ranking Joe Biden gaffes is like running down the deck of the Titanic -- in the end it's just a race to the bottom and no one ever wins. And yet the vice president continues to provide more candidates for his greatest hits.

Congress

Lawmakers take in $608 per hour for time in D.C.
THE HILL – Congress will be in session for only eight days during a 102-day span between Aug. 1 and Nov. 12, when lawmakers are set to return for a lame-duck session after the elections. Because the annual salary for members of the House is $174,000, their hourly wage for those eight days amounts to $608 […]
House GOP replaces firm handling Obama suit
THE HILL — House Republicans said they’ve hired new counsel to represent them in their lawsuit against President Obama after their previous lawyer backed out of the case over “political pressure.” They inked a contract on Friday with William A. Burck of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart. The New York Times reported that the GOP’s previous attorney, David Rivkin of […]
Convicted felon running for Congress

Edwin W. Edwards recently spent nine years in prison after being convicted for extorting millions of dollars in exchange for riverboat gambling licenses, and now he's running for office.

Rand Paul: Millennials 'aren't as wedded to party'
Sen. Rand Paul (R – Ky.) seems to have the majority of millennials figured out. The presidential hopeful spoke with The Federalist this week about his foreign policy views and the shift toward libertarian views among millennials. “I think the libertarian influence, the libertarian-ish Republican, the libertarian conservatives in many ways is great for the […]
Democrats turn on Debbie Wasserman Schultz
POLITICO – Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is in a behind-the-scenes struggle with the White House, congressional Democrats and Washington insiders who have lost confidence in her as both a unifying leader and reliable party spokesperson at a time when they need her most. Long-simmering doubts about her have reached a peak after two […]