Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was among the Senate Republicans blocking a Democratic-led effort to freeze student loan rates.
By a 52 to 45 vote, with Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, voting "present," the Senate fell eight votes short of the number needed to cut off the debate and move forward. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., voted for moving forward with debate.
Republicans objected because Democrats wanted to close a tax loophole to fund the plan. The House of Representatives has passed legislation to freeze the rate, which would double to 6.8 percent July 1 if nothing is done. But Democrats disliked the GOP-authored House plan because it cut money for health care.
Rubio said he supports "a hundred percent making sure that the interest rates on student loans do not go up," but doesn't support the Democratic plan.
The 40-year-old senator still pays Sallie Mae each month for his law school education. It's an estimated $101,000 to $250,000 debt, according to his most recent financial disclosure report.
He's not the only high-profile U.S. leader who's griped about about paying back the loans. It's also become a frequent refrain on the campaign trail for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.