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Revisionist History: Administration Wants a Long-Term Student Loan Fix… No, Wait, Maybe Later.

Today the Obama administration released a Statement of Administration Policy endorsing a Senate proposal to kick the can down the road on student loan interest rates. The approach now supported by the president would ensure millions of borrowers will face another interest rate cliff in two short years – exacerbating the confusion and uncertainty facing families and students.

This is a sharp detour – not just from the president’s earlier call for a long-term, market-based solution to the student loan interest rate problem, but also from Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s recent testimony before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Just two weeks ago, Secretary Duncan reiterated the president’s support for a long-term solution, going so far as to say:

The idea of coming back every two years to try to fix something, to me it’s just a very… with all the real challenges that the country’s facing… 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, move on to other issues, I just don’t understand that thinking. So we are interested in a long-term fix, we’re interested in it being budget neutral, and look forward to continued conversations with you and others to try to find some common ground.

The House has already approved bipartisan legislation that prevents student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1st and provides a lasting solution based on President Obama’s previous call for a market-based plan. But instead of urging the Senate to advance a similar proposal, it’s become increasingly clear the administration has no interest in making the tough choices necessary for true leadership.

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