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October 20, 2014

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Democrats continue to hammer GOP with student loan bill

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Lauren Victoria Burke / AP

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada speaks to reporters on student loan legislation and the defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Wednesday, June 11, 2014, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.

WASHINGTON — A vote on a bill to make federal student loans more affordable failed in the Senate on Wednesday, but Democrats aren’t worried.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Democrats are using the defeat as another talking point to push their every-person agenda forward this election year.

“[Republicans] are against the American government helping the average people,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “We are for the American government helping average people.”

You’ll hear this story line time and time again from Senate Democrats on a number of their legislative priorities. Democrats even have a name for it. They have called their election-year campaign to bring up issues such as raising the minimum wage and gender equality in the workplace “A Fair Shot.” (Complete with the #FairShot hashtag at every press conference.)

Reid brings the proposals to a vote knowing Republicans will defeat them. (Often it’s because Republicans disagree fundamentally with the bill or object to the way Reid handles parliamentary procedure).

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said the bill on student loans does nothing to make college more affordable or create jobs, so the party wouldn’t support it.

When the bill fails, Reid blames Republicans for standing in the way of the American people.

“This bill deserves to pass, and it’s a real shame Republicans are standing in the way of this important legislation,” Reid said at a press conference today after the bill failed to get past a procedural vote.

This bill, which is championed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, would offer 25 million Americans a chance to refinance their federal loans at today’s low interest rate. The lost income would be made up by a proposed tax on millionaires.

Expect to see more votes on this bill through the summer — and more attacks on Republicans from Reid and Democrats when it doesn’t pass.

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