President Obama Says Keep Student Loan Rates Low
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UPDATED: Jun 8, 2012
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After participating in a series of fund-raisers in California, President Obama made a stop in Nevada where he chose to speak at the University of Nevada.
At the college, he spoke in front of 2,500 students, who were roused into a chant of, “four more years,” after hearing the president’s words.
The topic that encouraged such support from the audience was that of student loans.
“Making college affordable,” started President Obama. “That’s one of the best things we can do for the economy.”
The president’s speech comes less than one month before federal student loan interest rates are scheduled to increase.
On July 1, unless Congress votes to extend an expiring piece of legislation, the current federal student loan rate of 3.4 percent will double to 6.8 percent.
Extending the student loan legislation would cost the government around $6 billion for each year that interest rates are artificially capped. Both parties in the House have proposed bills to extend the legislation, but neither of the proposals have passed since both parties have differing opinions on where the funding for the legislation should come from.
Democrats want the student loan cost to be funded by forcing wealthy taxpayers to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on their payrolls, while Republicans propose funding come from the elimination of some preventative health services in President Obama’s health insurance law.
“And what has the White House done? Nothing. The president has yet to respond,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell in a speech. “One can only surmise that he’s delaying a solution so that he can fit in a few more campaign rallies with college students while pretending someone other than himself is delaying the action.”
Republicans claim they have yet to hear a response from the President, so they have sent him a letter pitching their health cut proposal and other funding alternatives.
When asked about the delay, White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said aboard Air Force One, “We are working with Congress to get this done, and we think it will get done,” according to the NY Times.