Legislation aimed at allowing student loan borrowers to refinance their debt died in the Senate on Wednesday after it failed to get the required 60 votes needed to advance the bill.
The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act was championed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. At a news conference, she vowed to continue pushing the issue.
"Homeowners are refinancing. Small businesses are refinancing. We just want young people who got an education to have their shot," she said.
The bill would have let people with federal and private loans issued prior to 2010 refinance at 3.86% - the interest rate that Congress set for federal student loans a year ago. The vote was 56-38.
The Obama administration estimated that the bill could have helped 25 million borrowers save $2,000 over the lifetime of their loans. The president touted the legislation on Monday when he signed an executive order to let people who took out federal loans before 2007 pay no more than 10% of their income in monthly payments.
Warren said she plans to reintroduce the bill at some point, with hopes of gaining greater bipartisan support. Only three Republicans voted to advance the bill to debate.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), on the Senate floor, stated, "The Senate Democrats' bill isn't really about students at all. It's really all about Senate Democrats. They want an issue to campaign on to save their own hides this November."
Because the bill called for the creation of a new tax on millionaires to offset the cost of lowering interest rates, the chances that the GOP would back the bill were considered slim. Warren said earlier in the month that Democrats were open to alternative plans to pay for the rate reduction, but added that her GOP colleagues did not offer any.