Student Loan Bill Filibuster – How Is It Reported

Dave Johnson

Republicans today filibustered a bill to keep student loan interest rates from doubling. If the public understands that this bill keeps interest rates from doubling and that Republicans filibustered this bill, they can decide whether they approve or disapprove and act accordingly. They can decide who to hold accountable. Will the public receive this information?

Democracy Depends On Public Receiving Accurate Information

Democracy depends on an informed public that is able to receive accurate information. This way the public can make decisions that are based on the facts, and can hold their elected representatives accountable. This is why our Constitution guarantees a free press. The first amendment in the Bill of Rights says, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of … the press.” Of course, then it’s up to the press to remain free and unencumbered.

In recent years, however, most of the American media has been bought up by large corporations. Just six companies control 90% of what we read, watch or listen to. See this “Infographic” Media Consolidation: The Illusion of Choice from Frugal Dad.

Today’s Vote – Republicans Filibuster

If Congress does not act soon, student loan interest rates double from 3.4% to 6.8%.

Jeff Bryant, in Student Loan Relief Is An Investment, Not A ‘Cost’ explains the stakes,

Drawing from the data compiled by Project Student Debt, we know that “members of the college class of 2010 who took out student loans owed on average $25,250 upon graduation, a 5 percent increase from the year before.” Total student loan debt has reached $1 trillion, exceeding what Americans owe on their credit cards.

Furthermore, this problem will only get worse. The cost of attending college — which has increased by 559 percent since 1985, rising far faster than costs for gasoline and health care — continued its steep climb in the 2011-12 school year, with in-state tuition and fees at public four-year institutions averaging $8,244, which is 8.3 percent higher than the previous year according to The College Board.

As Robert Borosage explains who people should support this bill, in Don’t Let Congress Kick College Grads In The Teeth,

Here’s the real debt crisis: student loan debt. Today, the average student graduates from college with a diploma and an anchor — $25,000 of debt.

And if Congress doesn’t act, student loan interest rates will double on July 1.

… President Obama supports keeping the current Stafford Loan interest rate at a low 3.4% rate. His opponent Mitt Romney just reversed his position and said he agrees. This should not be a partisan issue.

… Instead of kicking students when they are down, we should end the student debt crisis. The Federal Reserve lends money to banks at rates near 0%, why not lend to students at similar rates? Unlike banks, graduates won’t use the money to blow up the economy.

What actually happened today was that Republicans filibustered to block the bill from coming to a vote.

How Is Today’s Vote Reported?

Does the nation’s media inform citizens that Republicans filibustered a bill to keep student loan rates from doubling? Or will the public be told a much more general story of failure that does not let them know what happened, and who to hold accountable? Will the headline be “Republicans Filibustered” or “Congress Failed?” Or worse, “Dems Fail” or even “Obama Fails?”

See for yourself:

Bad: CBS: Student loan bill fails as Senate gears up for protracted battle

Bad: ABC: Student Loan Effort Stalls on Capitol Hill,

The Democrats’ student loan bill, as predicted, has failed to move forward in the Senate.
Cloture on the “motion to proceed” to the bill was not invoked which means the bill will not be formally taken up.

Bad: NY Daily News says Democrats fail: Student loan bill, proposed by Democrats, fails in Senate

Bad: Fox headline says Democrats fail, story is accurate: Democrat-backed student loan bill fails in Senate

Republicans have blocked the Senate from debating a Democratic bill keeping interest rates on college loans from doubling this summer for 7.4 million students.
Republicans say they support heading off higher rates on subsidized Stafford loans. They oppose how Democrats would pay for the measure — raising payroll taxes on high-earning stockholders of some privately owned corporations.

Bad: Politico leads with “Obama failed”: Student loan bill blocked in Senate,

Another of President Barack Obama’s top domestic priorities was stymied in the Senate Tuesday when lawmakers rejected a bill to stop student loan interest rates from doubling in July.
The legislation failed to muster the 60 votes needed to break a GOP-led filibuster. Senate Republicans vehemently opposed the measure because it would’ve eliminated a tax loophole for certain businesses – a move the GOP called a tax hike on job creators.

Bad: The Hill: Dems’ student loan bill fails in Senate.

Bad: Marketwatch: Funding fight hamstrings student-loan bill

Bad: Wash. Times: Student loan bill stumbles in Senate

Bad: Daily Beast: Senate Lets Student Loan Bill Fail

Terrible: CNN: Senate balks at taking up student loan bill,

With federal student loan interest rates set to double July 1, the Senate failed Tuesday to get enough votes to take up a bill to extend low 3.4% rates for another year.

The vote was 52-45 to take up the bill, 8 fewer than the 60 needed to officially start debating the bill. Senate Republicans and Democrats are still negotiating a compromise, and the Senate could vote again this week.

Very bad: Washington Post: Student loan plan fails in the Senate,

The Senate failed Tuesday to advance a bill to keep federally subsidized college student loan rates lower for another year, prolonging debate on an issue that has emerged as an election-year flashpoint.

Good: AP: GOP blocks Senate debate on Dem student loan bill

Good: WSJ: GOP Blocks Debate on Student-Loan Bill

Good: Business Week: Senate Republicans Block Student-Loan Rate Freeze

Good: CS Monitor: Student loans: GOP filibuster blocks Senate move to freeze low rates

Good: NPR: GOP Senators Block Democrats’ Student Loan Bill

Very good: NY Times: Senate Republicans Block Bill on Student Loan Rates,

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked consideration of a Democratic bill to prevent the doubling of some student loan interest rates, leaving the legislation in limbo less than two months before rates on subsidized federal loans are set to shoot upward.

Very Good: LA Times: Republicans block Senate proposal to keep student loan rates low,

Senators blocked President Obama’s student loan bailout bill Tuesday, upping the chances of another deadline-busting battle this summer as both sides dig in over how to pay for continued government assistance to college students.

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