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May 08, 2012

Senate Republicans block effort to debate student loan bill

Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic-led effort to freeze student loan rates, as GOP lawmakers refused to end extended debate.

By a 52 to 45 vote, with Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, voting "present," the Senate fell eight votes short of the number needed to cut off the debate and move forward.

Republicans objected because Democrats wanted to close a tax loophole to fund the plan. The House of Representatives has passed legislation to freeze the rate, which would double to 6.8 percent July 1 if nothing is done. But Democrats disliked the GOP-authored House plan because it cut health care funds.

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