President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Washington, to call on Congress to stop interest rates on student loans from doubling on July 1. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional bargainers seem near an agreement that would avert a July 1 doubling of interest rates on federal loans to 7.4 million college students and end an election-year battle between President Barack Obama and Congress, Senate aides from both parties said Friday.
Both sides said they were moving toward a deal on how to pay the measure’s $6 billion price tag, the chief source of partisan conflict.
The goal is to push legislation through Congress next week so the current 3.4 percent interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans can be preserved for another year. A 2007 law gradually reduced interest rates on the loans but required them to balloon back to 6.8 percent this July 1 in a cost-saving maneuver.
On another front, the two sides were also close to an agreement to overhaul federal transportation programs, according to House and Senate aides from both parties. Negotiations were expected to continue through the weekend, with Login to read more