Legislative Activity

Student Loan Interest Rates

Last week, the Senate held votes on two competing measures to address federally subsidized student loan interest rates, which expire July 1. Both measures failed to garner the 60 votes needed for passage, setting up likely bipartisan negotiations this and next week to work on a compromise bill before the July deadline. While Republicans are hoping to implement a long-term solution, Senate Democrats are expected to push for another temporary extension of the current 3.4 percent interest rate (with a new source to offset the cost) to allow for more time to work on a long-term compromise. The Administration has urged any legislative solution moving forward to include the President’s proposal to expand repayment options for borrowers who have already left school to provide them with more flexibility to meet their financial obligations.

ESEA Reauthorization

Last week, Senate Democrats (Strengthening America’s Schools Act, S.___), Senate Republicans (Every Child Ready for College or Career Act, S. 1101), and House Republicans (The Student Success Act, H.R. 5) released three separate bills to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is scheduled to consider both Senate bills on Tuesday, June 11, and the House Education & the Workforce Committee is planning to markup its bill June 19. House leadership has included ESEA reauthorization in its priority legislation to consider on the House floor before the August recess. Despite all of the attention on the issue last week, it is unlikely that any sort of compromise will get through both chambers this year.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, June 11: The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will mark up competing versions of Democratic and Republican legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
  • Thursday, June 13: The House Education & the Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training will hold a hearing titled “Program Quality through Accreditation” as part of its Keeping College Within Reach series.