GOP blocks Senate debate on bill to keep student loans from doubling

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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