It’s called a filibuster damnit!!

Headline from the Post on-line this afternoon:

Senate student loan interest rate bill fails on procedural vote


A Senate bill that would freeze a low interest rate on one type of federal student loan for another year, along with buying lawmakers more time to craft a long-term strategy for setting all education loan interest rates, failed to clear a procedural vote Wednesday afternoon. That bounces the issue back to negotiations yet again, as lawmakers try to reach a consensus before the August recess, at which point most students will have to lock in their loans for the coming school year.

The vote was 51 in favor and 49 opposed, not enough to advance the bill.  [emphasis mine]

You’ve got to love the Orwellian Republican talking points on this (via Weigel):

Democrats (in both houses) prefered to just extend the 3.2 percent rate. Today the Senate held a cloture vote that would have allowed a vote on such a plan. Every single Republican voted against it, joined by one Democrat, Joe Manchin, and one independent, Angus King. (Harry Reid voted against it in order to retain the ability to bring it up later.)*

So what’s the headline? “The Senate failed,” of course.

That AP story, like many stories on the vote, doesn’t describe the actual breakdown of senators. But what happened, as usual, was that a majority of senators wanted to move ahead, and a filibuster stopped them. The low attention paid to the topic allowed John Boehner to claim that the Senate hadn’t really even tried to do anything: “Republicans acted to protect students from higher interest rates and make college more affordable, yet Senate Democratic leaders let student loan interest rates double without passing any legislation to address the issue.” They did have legislation, but Republicans want you to look past the people who filibustered it and think that the House, with its plan that would actually raise rates somewhat, is the only body acting. Rather than anyone take the lead on a compromise, 51 percent of the membership of one house is going to try to message the hell out of this, and 51 percent of the other house will respond.

Argh.  Most depressing is just how effectively this repeated failure of basic journalism does the Republicans’ job for them.  A reasonably savvy FB friend of mine just shared a link on this story with the comment, “#‎FireEveryoneInCongress‬”  I suggested that #FireRepublicans might be more appropriate.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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