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US Senator fights for student loan refinance bill

Posted by Hannah Walker in

Elizabeth Warren, senior US Senate for the District of Massachusetts, is pushing for the student loan refinance bill, despite it failing to receive the 60 votes it needed to pass this past June. Should the bill become successful, it would allow student loan borrowers to refinance their old debt at a lower rate. However, several Republicans oppose Warren's proposal due to a number of concerns. Firstly, there is serious questioning around how the bill is intended to be funded and secondly, the Republicans argue that the bill would only benefit past students as the interest rates on current loans and new ones could continue to increase. And further, opponents believe that refinancing student loans does not solve the country's fundamental issue with higher education: the sheer cost of tuition.

To finance the bill Warren proposes authorising the Buffet Rule, a strategy that would raise taxes for citizens earning more than $1m annually. Her proposal would also permit loan borrowers who have private student loans, to refinance them as federal loans. However, opponents argue that borrowers would not be better off under Warren's bill as they are already able to reduce their monthly loan payments under the federal loan. Republican Senator Lamar Alexander strongly argues against the proposals, by saying that, "college graduates don't need a $1-a-day taxpayer subsidy to help pay off a $27,000 loan. They need a good job."

The bill has the backing of the Obama Administration and despite not gaining enough votes earlier in the year, Warren states the fight is not over and legislators will vote again this September. The administration believes that the bill could reach approximately 25 million loan borrowers and save an individual borrower an average of $2,000. Anne Johnson, who is executive director of Generation Progress, stated "refinancing student loans will provide millions of borrowers a fair shot in this economy."

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