WASHINGTON, D.C. | May 30, 2013 -
Tomorrow President Obama will hold an event at the White House to “call on Congress to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1st.” But wait a minute – the House has already taken action, approving legislation that mirrors the president’s own proposal to shift interest rates to a long-term, market-based solution.
That’s right – the Smarter Solutions for Students Act is based on a plan put forth by President Obama in his Fiscal Year 2014 budget request that would allow interest rates to move with the free market. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) worked with Education Secretary Arne Duncan to craft the legislation, and Secretary Duncan said just last week that he wanted a long-term solution to the interest rate problem:
“We are interested in a long-term fix, we are interested in it being budget-neutral and look forward to continue conversations with you and others to find some common ground.” (Secretary Duncan testimony before the House Education and the Workforce Committee, 05/21/13)
So why is the president now turning his back on the only bipartisan proposal that embodies his plan to address the student loan interest rate problem? Even Secretary Duncan recently backpedaled, issuing a statement saying he now believes a short-term extension of current policy is a “reasonable option.” Meanwhile, Democrat leaders in the U.S. Senate have failed to advance their own long-term solution to the student loan interest rate cliff and the clock is ticking.
So to recap:
- The president asked Congress to develop a long-term, market-based solution for the problem of student loan interest rates.
- House Republicans worked with the administration to develop such a plan and as a result, introduced the Smarter Solutions for Students Act.
- The House approved the Smarter Solutions for Students Act last week, moving the country one step closer to a responsible, bipartisan fix to the problem. If enacted this summer, most student loan borrowers would see their interest rates drop by as much as 2 percent.
- Senate Democrats fail to act and the president hits the campaign trail.
When bipartisan compromise is within reach, why is President Obama turning to petty politics and campaign gimmicks at the expense of students and their families?
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