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Student Loan and Highway Jobs Bill Passes Congress

The U.S. Congress has approved new legislation for transportation infrastructure and a freeze of student loan interest rates.

June 30, 2012- On Friday, Congress approved legislation that saved jobs on highway projects across the country. The lawmakers also avoided increases in interest rates on new student loans for millions of students in college. The legislation gives lawmakers bragging rights in this campaign season.

The bill will now go to President Obama’s desk for his signature. The new legislation will free up $100 billion to be used for mass transit, highway and other programs for transportation during the next two years. If no Congressional action had taken place, the programs would have ended on Saturday.

The bill also ends a long battle over the interest rate freeze for student loans. The battle has taken place since early spring was more about what party was helping the voters the most during the continued sluggish economy. The student loan legislation keeps the interest rate of student loans at 3.4%. The interest rates were scheduled to double to 6.8% on July 1.

President Obama signed on Friday a temporary measure that will permit the loan and highway programs to continue until he receives the full legislation to sign this week.

The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 74-19, only minutes after the House had approved the measure 373-52. The strange display of harmony amongst the bitterly divided Congress signaled the eagerness of lawmakers to claim their share of credit for averting higher costs for college students and their parents and for keeping existing transportation jobs and adding possible new ones in the future.

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