On Wednesday, June 11, 2014, the Senate voted against proceeding with consideration of Senator Elizabeth Warren's (D- MA) "Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act," a bill that would allow holders of student loans to refinance with the government at lower interest rates. The final vote count was 56-38 (60 votes were needed to proceed), with just three Republicans voting with the Democrats in support of the measure (Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV) switched his vote to "NO" for procedural reasons).

  • Senators voting 'NO' on proceeding with the student loan refinancing bill received, on average, 58 percent more money from banks, lending institutions and student loan companies than senators voting in favor of proceeding with the bill.

Under the bill, some individuals with private student loans would be able to have their debt paid by the federal government in exchange for taking out a new, lower-interest loan from the government for the amount that was paid. The banks that would have their loans paid off by the government would lost future revenue that they would otherwise be earning through interest payments.

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has received from banks, lending institutions and student loan companies, more than any other senator. He voted 'NO.'
  • Bill author Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has received $36,920 from banks, lending institutions and student loan companies.    

Sallie Mae is by far the largest originator of student loans, but many of the biggest banks in the world, including Citibank, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, are also under the now extinct Federal Family Education Loan Program.  

  • Sallie Mae's political action committee (PAC) has contributed $107,950 to members of the Senate from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2013.   
Methodology: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions from PACs and employees of commercial banks & bank-holding companies, banks & lending institutions, and student loan companies to current members of the Senate, from January 1, 2008 - December 31, 2013. Contributions data source: OpenSecrets.org
[editor's note (6/17/14):  Abigail Harper, Senior Communications Media Analyst for Sallie Mae wrote to dispute a statement in this article.  She writes, " The U.S. Department of Education is by far the largest originator of student loans, originating more than $100 billion in federal student loans last year. By contrast, Sallie Mae expects to originate $4 billion of private education loans this year."]