The media is blaming Senate Democrats for student loan interest rates doubling, but the truth is that 0 Senate Republicans voted to lower the student loan interest rate.
The media is spinning the failure to pass a bill that would return student loan interest rates to previous levels as the fault of Senate Democrats. Time’s Swampland blog described the situation as, “The gridlock paralyzing the Democrat-controlled Senate springs from arguments between two factions, one bipartisan and one Democratic.” This story line of division among Senate Democrats has been repeated over and over again. Heck, even The Washington Post has been pushing this narrative.
See if you can spot the Democratic division in the partisan breakdown of today’s vote to move forward on the student loans bill:
Chart via govtrack.us
Just two Democrats voted no, and Harry Reid changed his vote to no for procedural reasons so that he could reintroduce the bill later. The only Democrat who voted no was West Virginia’s Joe Manchin. Independent Angus King caucuses with the Democrats, and he also voted no. (Manchin and King are part of the group that is negotiating a bipartisan student loan compromise.) 51 of 52 Democrats originally voted yes. It is obvious that it isn’t Democratic bickering that is preventing a student loan bill from being passed.
The real culprit can be found by looking at the Republican vote total. All 46 Republicans voted against moving forward on the bill. Since it takes 60 votes to move the legislation forward, Republicans killed the bill.
The media got the talking point that Democrats are unable to come together from John Boehner. On July 1, Boehner said, “Indeed, the divisions among the president and his own party are directly responsible for the current impasse that will now result in higher borrowing costs for students already coping with skyrocketing tuition bills.”
The fact that nothing Boehner said was true hasn’t stopped the media from working his talking points into all of their stories. The reality is that Republicans are trying to permanently increase the interest rate on student loans. While Democratic bickering might make for a nice storyline, the truth is that this is more of the same Republican obstruction that has plagued our legislative process since President Obama took office.
The numbers don’t lie. It isn’t Democratic bickering, but Republican obstruction that has doubled the student loan interest rate for 37 million Americans.