The U.S. Senate blocked a bill on Tuesday that would let students refinance old student loans that have high rates at the current lower rates. The vote was 56-38 along party lines. The measure needed 60 votes to cut off debate and go forward.
The No votes were all Republicans, including Sen. Richard Burrof Winston-Salem. Sen. Kay Hagan of Greensboro voted for it, along with other Democrats and three Republicans (Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker).
State House Speaker Thom Tillis, who’s running against Hagan, declined through his spokesman Daniel Keylin to say whether he would have voted for or against the measure.
Later in the day he issued a statement that said: “The bill has many glaring issues, like the fact it significantly increases the national debt, doesn’t make college more affordable, and does nothing to create jobs for the millions of recent graduates who are unemployed because of the failed economic policies of Kay Hagan and President Obama.”
Hagan’s campaign fired back by pointing out that the state legislature under Tillis had eliminated the state tax deduction for 529 college savings plans, raised community college tuition and added a tax on college meal plans.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., speaking for opponents, called the bill a “political stunt” and said the measure would add to the National debt, while Democrats said it wouldn’t.
Democrats planned to pay for it with the Buffett Rule, which would close off some tax benefits for people who earn $1 million or more.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analyzed the legislation and estimated that it would increase the deficit by $26 billion in 2015-2019 but would reduce the deficit by about $14 billion over 2015-2024.