This is fairly simple: when a person takes out a loan, whether it’s for college tuition or a car, they have to pay an interest rate on that loan. Ideally, the borrower will find a reasonably low interest rate for paying back the borrowed money.
In the case of college tuition loans, millions of current or former students who have borrowed money are currently stuck with high interest rates, making it even more difficult to pay back this money. Many have been stuck with this debt for years and have interest rates higher than 7 percent.
So while we all agree that college tuition costs are absurdly high and need to be reined in, it’s important that, in the meantime, we try to ease the burden of these costs in other ways. After all, student loan debt in the U.S. weighs in at $1.2 trillion, the second largest source of consumer debt in the country.
This is where a proposal by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, comes into the fold.
Warren’s proposal is pretty straightforward: borrowers with student loans and higher interest rates would be able to refinance at a rate below 4 percent. The plan would have helped 25 million people save thousands over the length of their loan.
Sounds pretty sensible, right? And, if we had a more open-minded and practical political environment, it might not have even mattered if President Obama and a Democratic senator from Massachusetts were advocating for the proposal. But open-minded and practical are bad words to Republicans who are allergic to anything that the president supports.
As was the fate of so many Senate proposals, from background checks on gun purchases to health benefits for veterans, the bill will not advance. All “no” votes, as is usually the case, came from Republicans senators.
If you’re wondering why politics is so awful and such common-sense proposals keep dying in the Senate, just go onto Google and type, “Senate Republicans block…” The results are astounding: equal pay, jobs for veterans, tax breaks, minimum wage increase, etc.
Sadly, today’s vote to block another logical proposal is simply par for the GOP’s course.
A side note: three GOP senators exercised some bipartisanship and voted in favor of the student loan proposal – Susan Collins (ME), Bob Corker (TN), and Lisa Murkowski (AK). They deserve some praise.