In a 52-45 vote, Republican Senators blocked further work on the “Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act of 2012,” a Democrat-sponsored bill that would extend low interest rates on federally subsidized student loans for another year. Barring an extension, the rate on new loans for undergraduates would increase from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent this July. Sixty votes were needed to advance to debate. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are advocating for an extension of low student loan rates, which they say would protect more than 7 million students from seeing their rates double. Senate Republicans, however, object to the way the Democratic bill proposes to pay for the extension. That bill, put forth by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and backed by the White House, would require some privately owned companies to pay higher payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare.