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In brief: House GOP will support Obama student loan plan

Fri., May 10, 2013, midnight

Washington – House Republicans are willing to give President Barack Obama a rare win, the chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee said Thursday in outlining a deal that would let college students avoid a costly hike on their student loans.

Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., told the Associated Press that his GOP-led panel would support an idea included in Obama’s budget proposal that links the interest rates on student loans to market rates. To calm fears of runaway interest rates, Kline said his proposal also would include a cap on interest rates that was not part of Obama’s proposal.

Kline’s proposal also would end different interest rates for subsidized and unsubsidized undergraduate loans. Both would pay the same rates, which would be linked to 10-year Treasury notes.

Federally subsidized Stafford student loan rates will double on July 1, unless Congress steps in. During the recession that began in December 2007, Congress temporarily lowered the interest rates, bottoming out at 3.4 percent.

The rates were scheduled to return to the pre-recession level of 6.8 percent last July 1, before Congress and the White House agreed during the presidential campaign to a one-year reprieve.

Statue of Liberty to reopen for July 4th celebrations

New York – The Statue of Liberty will reopen just in time to celebrate the Fourth of July – eight months after 75 percent of Liberty Island was submerged in during the devastation of Superstorm Sandy.

The statue has been closed since Sandy struck the region on Oct. 29 and damaged much of Liberty Island’s infrastructure. The statue itself is on higher ground and was not damaged.

A spokeswoman for the National Park Service said the nearby Ellis Island Immigration Museum will be partially open on July 4.

Sandy brought 8 feet of water to Liberty Island, destroying boilers and electrical systems.


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