And yet, narrowly tailored as it was, it fell victim to the politics of obstruction on
This rank display of partisanship is as good a measure as any of
Just last year, lawmakers were able to strike a deal with
That was a victory for those who believe that helping students improve their education represents an investment in America's future. Both Democrats and Republicans understood the basic fairness of the measure and worked together to enact it. It was a rare win for common sense.
Last week's proposal was equally good, and equally necessary. Some 40 million Americans are trying to cope with
The debt has seen a huge increase during the past decade because average college tuition increased 79.5 percent between 2003-2013, according to data from the
At the time most of the outstanding loans were issued, federal loan rates were at 6.8 percent or higher. The act that stalled on the
The difference in the repayments to federal agencies would have been financed by higher taxes on individuals earning
That's a political objection, not a practical one. In addition to rewarding students trying to improve themselves and raise the general level of education, reducing interest rates on college loans would also help unclog a sluggish economy by freeing up disposable income for college graduates unable to buy homes and otherwise invest in the economy.
A day before the vote in the
If lawmakers are condemned to inaction because of partisan politics, they should not object when the president acts on his own to grapple with serious issues.
Ultimately, changes to the student-debt situation will come through an update to the Higher Education Act, the main law on student-loan policy. But that could take years, assuming partisan passions eventually die down. Meanwhile, lawmakers have passed up a good opportunity to help younger Americans struggling with student loans.
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