By LIBBY A. NELSON | 7/17/13 12:01 AM EDT

Federal student loan debt has topped $1 trillion, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will announce Wednesday, a milestone that will only intensify the debate in Congress over what to do about student loan interest rates.

The interest rate on new, federally subsidized Stafford loans doubled on July 1 to 6.8 percent thanks to congressional inaction, and the two parties haven’t been able to agree to a solution to lower the rate.

“I think there’s been a lot of attention about future student loan interest rates but student loan debt continues to grow,” said Rohit Chopra, the CFPB’s student loan ombudsman. The growing debt suggests that lawmakers should pay attention to issues beyond interest rates for a small slice of student loans overall, Chopra said.

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