Student debt bill hits roadblock

The political deadlock is cited as a reason for lack of progress.

Abill that would allow students to refinance their federally backed student loans and possibly lower their interest rates has hit a second roadblock since its introduction to Congress this summer.

With the national student debt level hovering around $1.2 trillion, student finances have become one of the most discussed — and the most politicized — topics in Washington.

“Democrats are looking to energize students heading into the fall elections by reducing the interest they pay on students’ loans. … Republicans are resisting because Democrats would use a tax on the most affluent to pay for it,” Humphrey School of Public Affairs political science professor Larry Jacobs told the Minnesota Daily last week.

Both sides of the political spectrum are behaving in a highly predictable way, as Jacobs explained. Political inaction often results from a lack of compromise between parties.

It seems as though election-year politics have played a major role in congressional inaction on several issues, including student loans.

Though we strongly support a measure that would allow for refinancing of federal student loans and a more equitable interest rate for students, we believe this most recent congressional failure is symptomatic of a larger and more important problem.

Heading into this fall’s elections, we would like to hear from candidates — specifically Sen. Al Franken and his Republican challenger, Mike McFadden — on how they would aim to cut through these deadlocks in Washington to make some real changes.