Both Republicans and Democrats agree the student loan interest rates must remain at 3.4 percent, but neither side can agree on how to pay for interest rate freeze.
"We are happy there is bipartisan support on this issue in that sense, but now our leaders have to take it one step forward and see a pay for," says Getachew Kassa, the Legislative Director at United States Student Association, a group committed to keeping college affordable for students.
Democrats want to finance their version of the $6 billion bill by closing tax loopholes for wealthy business owners. The bill would increase Medicare and Social Security taxes for the wealthy, something Republicans say attacks businesses who will hire recent college graduates.
Republicans wish to borrow the $6 billion from the a preventative health fund that the was established under President Obama's 2010 Affordable Care Act.
That proposal is destined for failure in a Democrat-controlled Senate, and the White House has vowed to veto any version of the bill that robs the preventative health fund.
The Senate minority argues that the Democratic version of the bill, sent over by the Obama Administration, was always a hopeless proposal.
"If you want to get something done, you have to go through committee," Stewart says. "This one was designed to fail because [Democrats] wanted the headlines that Republicans blocked the vote and they got them. This was always a political stunt."
Stewart argues the only way student loan rates will remain stable is for Republicans and Democrats to sit down together and hammer out a compromise everyone can agree upon.
"It doesn't do any kid any good to have a bunch of show votes on a bill that Democrats know won't pass," Stewart says.
Jentleson says students are being penalized by the GOP's aversion to the president's requests, adding that the interest rates will remain at 3.4 percent "as soon as Republicans decide they want to find a solution that helps middle class families instead of blindly blocking President Obama's agenda."
But time is running out for the those who will, on average, see their student loan debt increase by $1,000 on July 1.
"We are optimistic, but it is very frustrating to see the current bill being stalled because of differences between the parties," Kassa says. "At the end of the day the numbers speak volumes. Students will have more debt because our leaders cannot compromise. That is very frustrating."
Lauren Fox is a political reporter for U.S. News and World Report. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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