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Vote possible Tuesday on bill to keep student loan interest rates low, Durbin says

 U.S. Sen. Dick Durbupdates process established choose next U.S. Attorney for Northern District Illinois. He held press conference Metcalfe

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin updates the process established to choose the next U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. He held a press conference at the Metcalfe Federal building Monday, June 25, 2012. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

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Updated: June 25, 2012 4:28PM

A bill to keep interest rates low on student loans could be voted on as early as Tuesday, said Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the U.S. Senate.

“We’re very close, and I think it’s going to be done this week — fingers crossed,” Durbin said at a Chicago news conference announcing the process for choosing a replacement for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. “I think we’ve reached an agreement in principal to keep the interest rate at 3.4 percent.”

That’s dependent on a package of bills holding together, he said.

“What it appears we are trying to do now is put everything in a package that would include the transportation bill, the student loan bill and possibly flood insurance re-authorization,” Durbin said. “All three have July 1 deadlines so it is possible all three will be combined and voted on as early as tomorrow.”

How will it be funded? Well, that’s complicated, Durbin said, involving “smoothing” out the way the IRS handles pensions and also getting stricter about interest beginning to accumulate on the student loans a year after the student leaves college, Durbin said.

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