May 15, 2014
PAYING OFF THE BASE: Senate Dems Prepare Student Loan Push:
Senate Democrats are preparing a June offensive on student loans meant to bolster the party’s 2014 election message.
Democrats will push for a vote on legislation to allow people to refinance student loan debt at a lower rate.
The effort is part of of a broader messaging battle meant to portray Republicans as out of touch with the middle class. It goes part and parcel with the Democratic push to raise the minimum wage.
It also comes as Democrats seek ways to bolster turnout among their core supporters for the midterm elections, when an older and whiter electorate generally shows up to vote.
The new bill would allow borrowers to refinance their existing loans at at the rate of 3.86 percent. That’s the current rate for new loans under legislation Congress passed last year.
The bill would cover the costs of those refinancings by enacting the “Buffett Rule,” a Democratic policy prescription that would ensure the wealthy pay some minimum amount of tax.
The push to increase taxes on the wealthy has long been a non-starter with Republicans, but Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Democrats were willing to deal on the offset.
“We’re open. We welcome suggestions on how they would pay for it,” he said.