Congress Approves Student Loan Measure
Congress approved a package that includes the bill that keeps the interest rates on federal student loans down. It also includes the huge transportation funding bill. Both bills are priorities of President Barack Obama. The action showed rare bipartisan agreement in Congress.
The package won Senate approval with a 74 to 19 vote after the House passed it with a vote of 373 to 52. Hours after Congress approved the package, President Barack Obama signed a bill into law that assures there will be continued funding for several transportation projects and avoids interest rate hikes on student loans. This is a temporary measure until he could sign a larger legislation by the end of next week when the stopgap bill expires.
Compromises have been reached on the student loan issue, transportation bill and national flood insurance. They came in bipartisan agreement during the same week that House Republicans voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.
Last Thursday’s contempt vote was not evident Friday when the legislators reached the compromise on the said issues. People praised the bipartisan effort. Democrat Barbara Boxer of California and Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma were the top senators in the negotiations. They issued a joint statement expressing praise and thanks for those involved in making the deal.
According to a White House statement, the legislation prevents middle-class families from getting hurt due to inaction by Congress on extending the student loan rate cut and transportation funding. The approval of the package beat the deadlines as the lower student loan rates and highway repair funding are set to expire on Saturday.
The transportation bill funds construction for highways, bridges and other transportation projects for two years in all states. President Obama pushed for the measure to improve job growth in the construction industry.