The Republican-led House will vote Wednesday on the student-loan interest-rate bill approved in bipartisan fashion this week by the Senate, according to the office of Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.
Prospects for passage appear solid, with Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, boasting Thursday to reporters that the measure is "entirely consistent" with a version of the bill the House passed in May.
"As for the Democratic leaders in the Senate, all I can say is, what took you so long?" jabbed Boehner.
There is a likelihood the House will take up the bill under suspension of the rules, a fast-track procedure that would require two-thirds support for passage. As of late Thursday, no Rules Committee hearing had been announced to lay out any other procedure for floor action on the bill. But no final decision had been made as to the voting process, said a GOP aide.
The bill to roll back a student-loan interest-rate hike and restructure the way many federal student-loan rates are calculated passed the Senate Wednesday on an 81-18 vote.
Interest rates on new subsidized Stafford loans, which are need-based and available to undergraduates, doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1. The Senate-passed deal ties interest rates on any loans taken since July 1 to the 10-year Treasury note, with the rate equaling 3.86 percent this year.
The House bill passed in May tied rates to the 10-year Treasury note. The Senate-passed version, which received White House backing, resembles the House bill but differs slightly on rates and doesn't allow rates to fluctuate over the life of individual loans.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was among those who said the bill might be acted on in a suspension vote.
She said it "isn't the bill we would have written, but it is a bill that can pass and will have Democrats voting for and against."
She also said the Senate-passed bill is "far superior" to what was passed by the House in May.
This article appears in the July 26, 2013, edition of NJ Daily.