THE HILL. JUNE 8, 2013. Republicans said on Saturday that President Obama used “campaign-style” tactics to attack a GOP student loan-rate plan recently rejected by the Senate, pushing the debate backward.
Rep. Luke Messer (R-Ind.) delivered the party’s weekly address and zeroed in on the Senate defeat of Republican legislation passed in the House to keep federally subsidized student loan rates low, which some say mirrors the White House’s own proposal.
“[Obama’s] maneuvers are yet another example of the arrogance of power that has taken root in this administration, and it prevents us from addressing the people’s priorities,” he said.
Messer then called on the Senate and the White House to work out a compromise that keeps the borrowing rate low for students. Without congressional action, the rates – set at 3.4 percent –are set to double on July 1.
The GOP student loan plan ties the interest rates to 10-year Treasury notes, which would keep rates low while the economy recovers, but leaves room for increases as the markets improve.
It, along with the Democratic plan, failed in the Senate on Thursday.
“Taking the politics out of student loans is a common-sense fix,” Messer said of the proposal. “After the usual noise and bluster, [Senate Democrats] failed to pass any legislation that would help student borrowers,” he said.
Before the vote, the White House said Obama would veto the Republican legislation if it passed the Senate.
The Indiana Republican and other members have criticized the president for opposing a plan similar to his own.
“Rather than seize this common ground and move the ball forward, the president resorted to campaign-style tactics, stepped out into the Rose Garden, and denounced the plan,” Messer said.
Obama’s proposal would set student loans on a market rate each year, but the interest rates would remain constant for the entire life of the loan.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Thursday the passage of the Republican plan “should’ve been a slam dunk,” based on the likeness of the deals.
Messer said he received scholarships and federal grants and took out loans in order to go to school, all the while working odd jobs to pay them off.
“What makes this country great is that my story is not exceptional. Every year, millions of American students see their career dreams begin with the help of federal student financial aid,” he said. “Our young people deserve better… Too many young people have had to come home and tell their parents that they can’t find a job.”