Republican Senators threatened to filibuster and block a bill form being passed today that would have prevented student loan interest rates from doubling in July. With a vote of 52-45, the bill has been blocked.
CNN reported, "We'll defeat cloture," Kyl said, using the legislative parlance for a key procedural vote scheduled for Tuesday that requires 60 votes to succeed. If Republicans prove Democrats can't move a bill without GOP support, "I presume leaders in the House and Senate will get together and find a way to ensure the interest rate doesn't double," Kyl said.”
This move will most likely trigger further efforts to pass a bill to prevent the increase in student loans. Although both sides were talking about negotiations on the bill’s passage, the steps to be taken to cover the cost of lost revenues caused a breakdown in communications between both parties. Student loan rates are set to double from 3.4% to 6.8%. Democrats are pushing to have a tax break eliminated to the wealthy, while Republicans are pushing to have funding for preventive health care funding reduced.
The recommendation by Democrats calls for eliminating a tax loophole that allows the wealthy to claim income as dividends instead of cash income and allows them to avoid paying Social Security and Medicare taxes on their earnings. It would reclassify income from professional services as normal income and be taxable just like any other ordinary income. It is simply an attempt to close a current tax loophole that allows taxpayers to avoid paying taxes on earned income. This vote was the 21st time Republicans have filibustered a bill presented by Democrats in Congress.
Republicans propose to cover the extension of the tax cut on student loans by lowering funding to the Prevention and Public Health Fund. This fund, which falls under the Affordable care Act, is designed to “promote wellness, preventing disease and protecting against public health emergencies.” Funding from this program goes toward preventing chronic diseases, such as “heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes – are responsible for 7 out of 10 deaths among Americans each year. They account for 75% of the nation’s health spending. Focusing on prevention can both improve the health of Americans and help control health care spending. In fact, a report from Trust for America’s Health entitled Prevention for a Healthier America concluded that investing $1 in proven community-based programs could yield a return of $5.60.” according to HealthCare.gov.