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THEN vs. NOW: Education Secretary Flip-Flops on Support for Long-Term Student Loan Solution

Once again Washington is working to prevent subsidized Stafford Loan interest rates from doubling. The House is expected to vote tomorrow on the Smarter Solutions for Student Act, legislation that provides a permanent solution on behalf of students and taxpayers.

Just yesterday Education Secretary Arne Duncan assured Congress that the Obama administration wants a long-term solution. However, a new statement from the department calls into question the veracity of the secretary’s testimony:

THEN: “The fact that we can’t think long-term, the fact that we can’t take a tough issue, deal with it, move it off the table, and move onto other issues I just don’t understand that thinking. So 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.” (Testimony before the House Education and the Workforce Committee, 05/21/13)

NOW: “Given the impending July 1 deadline, an extension that protects students against higher rates while Congress develops an alternative solution is another reasonable option.” ("Statement from Secretary Duncan on Preventing Student Loan Interest Rates from Doubling on July 1," 05/22/13)

Remarkably, it appears Secretary Duncan was also being less than candid when he suggested a willingness to work together to “find some common ground.” Earlier today the White House threatened to veto the only plan that meets the president’s goal for a market-based, long-term solution.

As Chairman Kline said in response to this disappointing veto threat: “Today’s announcement proves the president would rather pick a partisan fight with Congress instead of work in good faith on a bipartisan solution.

The American people deserve to know: Does the president support a long-term solution or not? And when will the Obama administration engage Congress in a serious discussion to address an important issue facing our families and students?


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