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McConnell continues to criticize Obama on student loans

06/06/2012

The Hill - June 5, 2012 - by Daniel Strauss

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) continued to accuse President Obama of failing to work with Republicans on extending student loan interest rates.

McConnell's criticism came the same day that the Senate votes on the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 3220), which aims to strengthen protections for women filing gender-discrimination lawsuits. The legislation also is meant to improve salary negotiating skills for women. McConnell did not mention the paycheck act in his speech.

"Let me repeat what I said yesterday: The only people dragging their feet on this issue are over at the White House," McConnell said Tuesday. "Republicans in Congress have been crystal clear for weeks: We’re ready to resolve this issue — to give students the certainty they need about their loan payments."

Both Democrats and Republicans want to extend the current 3.6 percent interest rate on Stafford loans. The rate is set to double on July 1 unless Congress acts. In early May the Senate shot down a Democratic proposal to extend the rate. While legislators on both sides of the aisle support an extension of the rate, they differ on the funding method.

McConnell said Obama might be trying to gain the high ground, politically, by not compromising with Republicans on student loans.

"The president may find it politically useful to keep these young people off balance, but we don’t think they should have to wait another day on this," McConnell said. "And it’s inexcusable for the president to do so."

McConnell also criticized the Obama administration for its "radical, anti-coal agenda." McConnell's remarks came a day after Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) gave a scathing speech of the Obama administration's policies on coal.

"The real-world impact of their fantasy-world energy policy is that people are losing their jobs and energy prices will rise even higher," McConnell said.