Slamming Senate Republicans for blocking a bill that would let people refinance their student loan debt at lower rates, U.S. Sen. Al Franken said Democrats will find a way to pass the legislation.
The bill, authored by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and co-sponsored by Franken and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, would have allowed people with student loans to refinance the debt at today’s lower rates. The Obama administration estimates the legislation could have helped 560,000 Minnesotans saddled with student loan debt.
Republicans said the bill wouldn’t have done anything to get at the root of the student debt problem: skyrocketing college costs. They accused Democrats of looking for a political issue to capitalize on in an election year.
The GOP also criticized Democrats’ willingness to fund the plan with a tax increase for people making more than $1 million per year.
On Wednesday, Senate Democrats couldn’t muster the 60 votes needed to proceed to debate on the measure.
“We’re very disappointed,” Franken said during a press conference immediately following the vote. “This was not a political stunt … we will revisit this, and it will get done.”
College Democrats from several Minnesota campuses sent out press releases before Wednesday’s vote, urging Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden to take a stand on the bill.