House GOP to Democrats: Quit Playing Political Games With Student Loans

Shannon Quick | June 18, 2013 | 6:05pm EDT
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( –Democrats and the Obama administration should “stop playing politics with these young people,” by opposing The Smarter Solutions for Students Act (H.R. 1911), a bill that would return the interest on student loans to market rates, Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R–Kan) stated at a Tuesday press conference held at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Democrats have been outspoken against the bill presented by Education Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.). Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said it should be called the “make college more expensive act.”

“In 2007, the Democrat-led Congress approved legislation to temporarily phase down the interest rate on subsidized Stafford Loans made to undergraduate students from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent over four years. Once the law expired in 2012, the interest rates would jump back to 6.8 percent. Despite a one-year extension of the lower interest rate, students and families could see interest rates for new subsidized student loans double on July 1, 2013 unless a long-term solution to the problem is enacted,” according to the committee’s fact sheet.

“Now I don’t know what games are going on, this fake fight that’s being picked, but it’s not fair to these students, and not fair to students across the country, who need to know what the cost of their loan is going to be and what the interest rate is going to be,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) commented.

Kline’s committee “used the language that the president signed off on, met them more than halfway,” Jenkins pointed out. “We call upon our friends in the Senate and this administration to help us not make pawns of these young people behind us in this political game.”


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“We passed the bill, and then nothing from the Senate. As the Speaker said, we are not sure what kind of games are being played, but I don’t think we ought to be playing games with the prospects for students and families who want to get ahead in life,” Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) added.


The press conference focused on the stifled opportunities of those in higher education if action is not taken in Washington: “The idea that is so frustrating to me, the president laid out a plan, then somebody offered it in the Senate, but the Democrats objected to it, and would not even allow it to be heard. That’s playing politics. It’s time to put people before politics,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-Wash.) said..

“I don’t know that there’s even been a better opportunity to work towards a real bipartisan solution,” said Kline, who has been in Washington for more than 10-years.

“When you have the White House come out with a proposal, and the House of Representatives come out with a proposal, clearly we have ground where we can work, but what do we get? We got a threat of a veto from this President instead of providing the leadership that we need..... It is time to put these politics aside, let’s get the Senate to move, let’s help these students behind us so we can move on to solving other problems,” he added..

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