But the looming hike lacked sufficient urgency this year and Congress last week left town for the holiday without an agreement. Instead, the Democratic-led Senate pledged to revisit the issue as soon as July 10 and retroactively restore the rates for another year — into 2014, when a third of Senate seats and all House seats are up for election.
At the White House, a spokesman predicted a deal could be reached before students return to campus.
"We are confident they will get there and that the solution will include retroactive protection for students who borrow after July 1 so that their student loan rates don't double," Matt Lehrich said.
Even when lawmakers return, there's no guarantee there will be the votes to restore the lower rates. Efforts last week to reach a bipartisan agreement fizzled and there have been few examples of meaningful compromise in Congress.
Associated Press writers Ryan J. Foley in Iowa City, Iowa, and Stacy A. Anderson in Washington contributed to this report.
Follow Philip Elliott on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/philip_elliott
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