On the same day that President Barack Obama delivered a speech pressuring Congress to prevent an increase in student loan rates, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took him to task Thursday for "deflection and distraction" on the issue.
Obama wants Congress to extend the current 3.4 percent interest rate on Stafford loans. That rate will double if Congress fails to act by June 30. Republicans and Democrats agree on the need to continue the rate, but disagree over how to pay for it, The Hill
The House passed a Republican-sponsored bill that pays for the extension with money from a preventive care fund in the healthcare reform program. Democrats want to finance the extension by closing what they see as tax loopholes for S-type corporations. But Democrats, who control the Senate, haven’t passed any legislation.
"So you can understand our surprise upon learning this morning that the president plans to call on Congress to do something about student loan rates," McConnell said. "The Republican-led House of Representatives has already passed a bill that would solve this problem."
Republicans have even offered Democrats several counter-proposals to finance the extension. But Democrats have ignored them, McConnell said. "It is actually the Democratic-led Senate that has failed to act, and the president who has failed to contribute to a solution, and the reason is pretty obvious."
The president simply wants to divert attention from troubling issues like the economy, McConnell said. “This is just another sad example of his election-year strategy of deflection and distraction.”
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