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Democrats Plan Push to Refinance Student Loans (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:15 a.m. | Senate Democrats are preparing a new push to refinance student loans and cut the costs of college as the latest plank in their election-year agenda — and are talking compromise on a minimum wage hike.  

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said Monday morning on MSNBC that a new bill will be introduced by Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts regarding student loan refinancing.  

Language similar to Warren’s will be part of a broader college affordability measure that’s the next piece of the “fair shot” agenda, a senior Democratic aide said. The broader campaign includes proposals that Senate Democrats are highlighting this year ahead of the 2014 midterm elections.  

“We’re pushing this middle class agenda. I think it’ll overcome Obamacare as the biggest issue. Minimum wage, equal pay, college,” Schumer said.  

Senate Republicans have thus far prevented the women’s pay equity and minimum wage hike measures from advancing in the chamber. Schumer predicted an eventual deal on raising the minimum wage “within the next six months.”  

“You should have a fair shot at getting out of poverty if you work 40 hours a week,” said Schumer, the No. 3 Democrat. “Can you negotiate on the length of time, on seasonal workers, on other things? Yes, and we’ve told our Republican colleagues we want to negotiate.”  

During the appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Schumer also provided the broad outline of the next piece of his party’s election-year push, including the education component.  

“This week, Elizabeth Warren will introduce legislation on making it easier to pay for college … you should be able to refinance. In other words, there are tens of millions of young people and their families who are paying seven, eight, nine, ten percent on tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of loans,” Schumer said. “You should be able to get it down to three percent.”  

“And by the way, this is one of the biggest things hurting the housing market. When a family — age 32, 31 — has all these student loans, they’re not going to buy a mortgage,” said Schumer.