America’s students are on the verge of getting much-needed relief as the Democratic-controlled Senate is set to vote on student loan reform that – according to the Associated Press – “closely hews to what House Republicans passed earlier this year.”
Indeed, “the plan is similar in principle to one the House passed” because student loan interest rates will be tied to the markets – not politics and politicians. As TIME notes, “the GOP-led House had first endorsed the idea of a variable rate … in its own version of a student loan bill, which it passed in May.”
That proposal – the Smarter Solutions for Students Act authored by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) – got tangled up in gridlock and division among Senate Democrats, who were so committed to extending the status quo that they left town and let interest rates on some loans double. “Republicans took political advantage of the fissure among Democrats” to secure a victory for students and their families with a final bill that one member of the Senate majority grudgingly admits is “almost identical to that passed by a … Republican-led House.”
He’s right – and not just because we’re taking the politics out of student loans. The final legislation is a permanent fix and it protects taxpayers by not adding to the deficit - things that never would have come to pass if Senate Democrats had gotten their way.
Here’s a quick comparison of the original House bill and the final legislation the Senate is voting on today:
If you’d like to learn more about the final student loan reform bill, check out this handy fact sheet from the White House itself: “Bipartisan Student Loan Deal: A Win for Students.” A victory indeed, and one that shows when we have common ground, we should seize it on behalf of the people we serve.