In his “What We Know Now” segment, Up host Steve Kornacki notes that Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is proposing legislation that is aimed at lowering the rate students pay on their loans to the same rate that banks get when borrowing from the Federal Reserve. Steve is joined by his guests Jared Bernstein, former economic advisor to V.P. Joe Biden; Sarah Kliff, health policy reporter for The Washington Post; Perry Bacon, Jr., TheGrio.com and MSNBC contributor; and former Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), now MSNBC contributor, to discuss what they have learned this past week.
Elizabeth Warren: Student Loans Should Have Same Rate Big Banks Get
by Ryan Grim and Will Wrigley, Huffington Post
WASHINGTON — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) unveiled her first bill Wednesday, designed to set student loan interest rates at the same level the Federal Reserve offers to big banks.
With some student loan rates set to double on July 1 — from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent — Warren’s bill would reduce student loan interest rates to 0.75 percent, opening the Fed’s discount window to students.
“Every single day, this country invests in big banks by lending them money at near-zero rates,” Warren told The Huffington Post. “We should make the same kind of investment lending money to students, who are trying to get an education.”
Working Families Flexibility Act Passes House Over Opposition Of Democrats, Labor
by Dave Jamieson, Huffington Post
WASHINGTON — As part of their efforts to rebrand the GOP as a more caring party, House Republicans passed a hotly debated bill Wednesday that would loosen federal overtime laws, allowing for “comp” time instead of pay for private-sector employees who work more than 40 hours in a week.
Although GOP legislators made a strong public-relations push for the bill as worker-friendly legislation, the measure is not expected to go anywhere in the Democrat-controlled Senate, and the White House said Monday that the president would be advised to veto such legislation on the grounds that it would weaken protections in the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Pentagon: Estimated 26,000 Sexual Assaults In Military Last Year
by Hayes Brown, Think Progress
Just one day after the Air Force’s chief of sexual assault prevention was arrested for sexual assault himself, a new Pentagon report shows a sharp increase in the estimated number of assaults in the military annually.
The report from the Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office for Fiscal Year 2012 found a 6 percent rise in reported assaults over the last year, for a total of 3,374. But much more troubling is the estimated number of sexual assault incidents that were never officially reported. In last year’s report, there were an estimated 19,000 instances, but this year the number has jumped to an unprecedented 26,000 instances of assault, leaving thousands unreported.
Environmentalists seize on Biden’s Keystone XL remarks to launch new attack
by Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post
Environmentalists have seized on a comment Vice President Biden made while working a rope line in Columbia, S.C., on Friday, in which he told an activist he is “in the minority” within the administration when it comes to opposing the Keystone XL pipeline.
Elaine Cooper, who serves on the executive committee of the Sierra Club’s South Caroline chapter, said in an interview Wednesday that Biden shared his thoughts with her during Rep. James Clyburn’s (D-S.C.) annual fish fry.
Buzzfeed first reported the vice president’s remarks late Tuesday, based on an e-mail a colleague of Cooper had sent to fellow environmentalists.