Senate Republicans gave a thumbs down to a Democratic plan that would have frozen interest rates for 7.4 million students taking out new federally subsidized Stafford loans.
The vote was 52-45. Sixty votes were needed to avoid a certain Republican filibuster and to move the bill toward debate.
From the Republican perspective, it wasn't the idea of keeping the rate at 3.4 percent rather than letting it double starting in July. The impasse was over how to fund the one-year rate freeze, which would cost the government $6 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
In Indiana, Republican primary voters Tuesday will decide whether to give GOP Sen. Richard Lugar the opportunity to seek a seventh term in November's general election. A recent independent poll shows him in trouble in his own party, with his Tea Party-backed opponent, Richard Mourdock, in the lead.
Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., 80, faces a GOP primary battle Tuesday that could end his political career. Here, Lugar talks with Capitol Hill colleagues on March 6.
Credit J. Scott Applewhite / AP
At the ripening age of 80 years old — more than 35 of them spent in Congress — Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., is scrapping for political survival. On Tuesday he faces state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in his party's primary.
Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., attends a state dinner at the White House on Oct. 13, 2011.
Credit Yuri Gripas / Reuters /Landov
The end of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar's 35-year career representing Indiana in the U.S. Senate could be imminent.
A new Howey/DePauw Indiana Battleground Poll shows the octogenarian trailing State Treasurer Richard Mourdock by 10 percentage points ahead of Tuesday's GOP Senate primary. The survey also finds that the venerable Lugar is increasingly viewed by home-state voters in a negative light.