U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Monday regarding the need for the President to work with Republicans on a serious solution to rising student loan rates:
“I’d like to start out this afternoon by calling attention to what appears to be a pretty serious disconnect over at the White House between the President’s legislative advisors and his political team.
“For weeks, President Obama’s been running around ginning up college students and late-night television audiences over an impending interest rate change on college loans — pointing the finger at Republicans. But not only are Republicans supportive of solving this problem, we’re the only ones who’ve actually passed legislation to do so.
“House Republicans passed a bill weeks ago that would have preserved current rates, and late last week, Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor, Senator Kyl and I sent a joint letter to the President proposing multiple solutions to the problem that were thoughtfully and carefully designed to gain the President’s support. In fact, the solutions were based on the president’s own proposals.
“So you can imagine how surprised we were to see one of the President’s political advisors say on one of the Sunday shows yesterday that Republicans in Congress are sitting on our hands, and an op-ed this morning by the Education Secretary saying that Congress isn’t lifting a finger to resolve the problem.
“Let’s be very clear about this: Republicans in Congress are the only ones actually working to solve the student loan issue. And unless the President isn’t having his mail forwarded to him on the campaign trail, he knows it as well as I do.
“I couldn’t help but notice the President is on a fundraising blitz in Manhattan today. And no doubt it’s easier to walk into these events when you’ve got a good piece of fiction to sell about Republican obstructionism. But the President’s campaign rhetoric is increasingly at odds with reality. On the student loan issue, at least, it’s Republicans who’ve been working on a solution, and the President who’s been totally AWOL.
“All he has to do is pick up the phone and tell us which of his own proposals he’ll accept. It’s that easy. But the truth is, the President doesn’t really want to solve this problem. He seems to prefer the talking point, as disingenuous as it is.
“And speaking of talking points, it’s been suggested by some on the President’s political team that Republicans are rooting for economic failure. It’s preposterous.
“If Republicans wanted failure, we’d support this President’s misguided economic policies.
“But the larger point is this: We’ll never solve any of the problems we face if the President continues to put his need for campaign rhetoric ahead of finding bipartisan solutions. And whether it’s pretending that small ball, post-it note quality, proposals would have a major impact on the economy, or pretending that Republicans who are the only ones actually working on bipartisan solutions are somehow sitting on our hands, he’s doing a major disservice to the American people.
“For the good of the country, it’s time the president take yes for an answer. It’s long past time for the President to lead.”