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Obama Advisor Admits: No Plan to Pay for Stafford Loan Interest Rate Freeze

One of President Obama’s leading domestic policy advisers admits the president has yet to figure out a way to afford the $6 billion price tag on a one-year Stafford Loan interest rate freeze, stating, “That really isn’t the issue.”

On NPR’s Diane Rehm Show yesterday, host Susan Page pressed Domestic Policy Council Deputy Director Mark Zuckerman for answers on the president’s claim a temporary extension of the current interest rate on subsidized Stafford Loans would not add to the federal deficit:

PAGE: I wonder, how would he [the president] pay for that 6 billion dollar cost next year?

ZUCKERMAN: Well, what he wants to do is negotiate with Congress to pay for that. But this president has been very fiscally responsible when it comes for paying for higher education… He wants to work with Congress to pay for this and the Senate and House rules require that it be paid for. 

PAGE: I don’t want to be dense, but when you say that he wants to “negotiate with Congress” for it, does that mean you don’t have specific proposals of your own about how the administration would propose to pay for it?

ZUCKERMAN: Well, we have billions of dollars in the budget that we’ve set aside to pay for the initiatives that we’re planning to initiate. So, we’re happy to negotiate with Congress over the offsets to fully pay for this. That really isn’t the issue.

At a time when the president's policies have already led to record deficits and debt, taxpayers might respectfully disagree.

House Committee on Education and the Workforce Republicans support efforts to help keep an affordable education within reach for more Americans. However, we must ensure taxpayers are not on the hook for bad policies and campaign promises that create more uncertainty in the long run. As President Obama travels to college campuses this week to complain about college costs, Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and his colleagues are working on a responsible plan to help stabilize Stafford Loan interest rates that will serve the best interests of both borrowers and taxpayers.

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