Tentative deal on roads, student loans in works
WASHINGTON – Facing weekend deadlines for action, congressional leaders have tentatively agreed to deals overhauling the nation's transportation programs without a Republican provision forcing approval of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, and avoiding a doubling of interest rates for new student loans, congressional officials said Wednesday.
The agreements underscored the pressures both parties face to avoid angering voters and embarrassing headlines in the run-up to this November's presidential and congressional elections. Letting road-building programs grind to a halt during an economic downturn would be a blow to the image of lawmakers, while Democrats and Republicans alike seemed eager to avoid enraging millions of students and their parents by boosting the costs of college loans.
Congressional leaders were hoping to combine the highway and student loan measures into a single bill to reduce potential procedural obstacles, and hope to vote final approval this week. Lawmakers would then leave Washington for a July 4 recess.
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