Senate Dems plan to push student loan refinance bill


McClatchy Washington Bureau

Senate Democrats next week are expected to bring up a bill that would allow borrowers to refinance student loans at lower interest rates.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., introduced the legislation in May.

At a hearing of the Senate Budget committee on Wednesday, Nancy Hoover, the director of financial aid at Denison University in Ohio, supported the legislation. She testified that Warren’s “Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act” would help students who have loans that they took out when interest rates were higher. They also could consolidate loans, so they don’t have to make more than one payment per month and deal with more than one loan servicer. Hoover said the changes would reduce the risk of defaults.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Wednesday that President Barack Obama supports the legislation. He said the president planned an event at the White House on student loans on Monday.

Warren and six Democratic women in the Senate _ Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Dianne Feinstein of California, Patty Murray of Washington, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii _ held a press conference on Wednesday to speak in support of student loan refinancing.

Murray said that Warren’s bill was part of Democrats’ efforts to improve economic conditions for women.

“The overwhelming weight of student loan debt can have lasting consequences, as young people try to start their careers, set up households, and save for retirement,” she said. “And for women, because of the gender pay gap, it can be even more difficult to pay down student loans.”

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