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Another reminder that nearly every issue is a partisan issue in an election year: The Senate on Tuesday failed to advance a bill that would keep federally subsidized student loan rates lower for another year, a general effort that has widespread support on both sides of the aisle.
The Senate vote on the Democrat-authored legislation broke down along party lines, 52-45, falling 8 votes shy of the 60-vote threshold needed to overcome a procedural hurdle preventing a full vote on the measure.
Lawmakers have until the start of July to hammer out a deal that would reauthorize a temporary cut that halved the loan rate to 3.4 percent for four years. The rate hike would affect an estimated 7 million people who rely on the subsidized Stafford loans to help pay for college.
President Obama and Mitt Romney agree that the loan rates should stay where they are but, as should come as no surprise by now, they and their parties don't exactly see eye-to-eye on how to pay for the plan. The Senate bill would offset its cost by ending a set of tax breaks for firms with three or fewer shareholders, while the GOP-authored House plan would find the roughly $6 billion from deep cuts to a preventative health-care fund.