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Senate fails to keep student-loan rates low

Coats, Donnelly split votes

U.S. senators from Indiana were on opposite sides Wednesday in a procedural vote that failed to advance legislation to cut the interest rate on subsidized student loans.

The Democratic Senate voted 51-49 in favor of limiting debate on a bill to reduce interest on Stafford loans from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent for a year. But 60 votes were needed to advance the bill.

In a mostly party-line vote, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., favored advancing the bill while Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., voted against it.

The interest rate on Stafford loans doubled July 1 when Congress failed to take action to extend the expiring lower rate.

The Senate bill would paid for the loan rate cut by eliminating a tax break on retirement accounts.

A bipartisan group of senators wants to tie student loan rates to 10-year Treasury notes. The Republican House passed a similar bill in June.

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