Economy

Student loan debt continues upward climb

Even with the increase, the New York Fed numbers are still below estimates from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that said student loan debt had topped $1 trillion.

{mosads}The figures also come as Republicans and Democrats continue to spar over how to best extend the current interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans, which are scheduled to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent in just over a month.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), blaming the Senate, told his conference on Thursday that he doubted Congress would be able to extend the current rates before the end of June.

The House has passed a measure to continue current rates for a year, offsetting that extension with savings from a public health fund included in the Democratic healthcare overhaul.

But Republicans in the Senate blocked a Democratic extension earlier this month, which would have offset the roughly $6 billion cost by forcing some business owners to pay higher payroll taxes.

A GOP aide told The Hill that Boehner said to Republicans on Thursday that Congress could fix the loan rates retroactively, and did not dismiss the importance of the issue, which could impact more than 7 million borrowers.

But the aide said the Speaker also characterized the deadline as essentially phony.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who helps craft messaging for Senate Democrats, said Boehner’s comments showed that GOP lawmakers are more than willing to let student loan rates increase.

“To many on the hard right, government should not play a role in helping students afford college,” Schumer said in a statement. “Speaker Boehner seems to be following their lead and throwing in the towel on this issue a month before the deadline.”

Tags Boehner Chuck Schumer John Boehner

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