Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 29, 2015

Will Congress Heed Obama’s Call on Student Loans?

Obama speaks on student loans Friday in the Rose Garden. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Obama speaks on student loans Friday in the Rose Garden. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

The House passed a bill the president doesn’t like. The president wants a bill on his desk. The onus, as has been typical in the past few years, is now on the Senate to act.

And as we previously reported, a vote on a Democratic alternative could come to the Senate as soon as next week as an amendment to the pending farm bill, or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., could bring the legislation to the floor as a stand-alone one. The decision on how to move forward likely will be made at the June 3 leaders meeting, per a Democratic source.

Reid announced Friday that the Senate would vote next week on what he termed “a common-sense proposal to prevent middle class families from being hit with a rate hike that could cost them thousands. The House Republican proposal is a non-starter in the Senate because it would leave middle-class families with the uncertainty of seeing their rates fluctuate wildly year to year, potentially having to pay thousands more from one year to the next.”

But given the GOP response to President Barack Obama’s Rose Garden speech on the student loan issue Friday, moving forward with a Democratic bill could violate Reid’s vow not to bring anything controversial to the floor that could compromise an immigration overhaul.

Republicans sharply criticized Obama’s decision to surround himself with college students Friday as well as his appraisal of the House bill. The president slammed the GOP effort, saying, “It fails to lock in low rates for students next year.” He added, “The House bill isn’t smart, and it’s not fair. I’m glad that the House is paying attention to it, but they didn’t do it in the right way.”

A sampling of the Republican reaction Friday:

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio:  “Last week, the House passed legislation that would prevent student loan rates from doubling and permanently take politics out of the issue. The bill already passed by the House provides a market-based variable interest rate, mirroring what the president proposed in his own budget. The differences between the House plan and the president’s are small, and there’s no reason they cannot be overcome quickly. But today, rather than working to resolve the issue, the president resorted to a campaign stunt to try to score political points. If the president is truly unhappy with inaction, the only place to look is the Democratic-run Senate, which has taken no action to prevent rates from doubling.”

“With time so short and the differences between our proposals so slight, today’s event was misguided and deeply disappointing. A president who promised young people he would reject petty partisanship, today practiced it himself. If he really wants to shield students from higher rates, he should work with his former colleagues in the Senate to act. That’s what our students deserve.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.: “With the President and Congressional Republicans in agreement on the need to provide a permanent reform to address the increase in interest rates on new student loans, no one should be fooled by today’s campaign-style event at the White House. House Republicans have already passed legislation that would prevent a rate hike, and Senate Republicans have proposed a solution similar to one the President himself called for in this year’s budget. Here’s one issue where the two parties can and should find quick agreement. Unfortunately, the President appears more interested in needlessly stoking partisan divisions in Washington than helping young Americans avoid a higher interest rate on their student loans.”

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee: “Senate Republicans support a permanent solution that will reduce interest rates for 100 percent of new student loans, not a short-term political fix that reduces rates for 40 percent of new loans. This would be fair to students and fair to taxpayers. Since the House of Representatives has already passed a permanent solution that seems to be much like what the president and Senate Republicans support, Congress should be able to agree on it before July 1.”

Congress had a similar battle last summer over student loan rates, set to double at the beginning of July. And even Obama, channeling his inner Yogi Berra, remarked on how he felt like he’d been in this situation before. He made the case that the student loan bill is good for the economy and for lowering unemployment, while reinforcing the long-held position of the administration that the House bill is unacceptable and that savings from its changes to the loan rates should not be put down toward the debt.

“How do we make sure our workers earn the skills and education they need to do the jobs that companies are hiring for right now, and are going to keep hiring for in the future? We know that the surest path to the middle class is some form of higher education — a four-year degree, a community college degree, an advanced degree. You’re going to need more than just a high school education to succeed in this economy,” Obama said in his remarks. “Now, if this sounds like déjà vu all over again, that’s because it is. We went through this last summer … eventually, Congress listened to all the parents and young people who said ‘don’t double my rate.’ And because folks made their voices heard, Congress acted to keep interest rates low. But they only did it for a year and that year is almost up.”

Comments (19)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

author email

  1. Anonymous

    July 7, 2015
    10:39 a.m.

    Im not certain where you are getting your info, however great topic. I must spend a while studying much more or understanding more. Thank you for fantastic information I was on the lookout for this information for my mission.

  2. Anonymous

    July 9, 2015
    9:06 a.m.

    Great info and straight to the point. I am not sure if this is really the best place to ask but do you folks have any ideea where to get some professional writers? Thank you :)

  3. Anonymous

    July 11, 2015
    8:26 a.m.

    Simply wanna comment on few general things, The website design and style is perfect, the subject material is real wonderful. “By following the concept of ‘one country, two systems,’ you don’t swallow me up nor I you.” by Deng Xiaoping.

  4. Anonymous

    July 13, 2015
    1:13 p.m.

    I’ve recently started a web site, the information you offer on this web site has helped me tremendously. Thanks for all of your time & work.

  5. Anonymous

    July 13, 2015
    4:12 p.m.

    Good day! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Cheers

  6. Anonymous

    July 13, 2015
    6:02 p.m.

    It’s really a cool and useful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Anonymous

    July 13, 2015
    8:02 p.m.

    Excellent post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and I’m inspired! Extremely helpful info specifically the ultimate phase :) I maintain such info a lot. I used to be seeking this certain info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  8. Anonymous

    July 14, 2015
    1:06 a.m.

    I like this blog very much, Its a rattling nice billet to read and receive information.

  9. Anonymous

    July 14, 2015
    1:48 a.m.

    Hello. magnificent job. I did not expect this. This is a impressive story. Thanks!

  10. Anonymous

    July 17, 2015
    7 a.m.

    Loving the info on this internet site, you have done outstanding job on the content.

  11. Anonymous

    July 17, 2015
    7:41 a.m.

    I carry on listening to the newscast lecture about getting free online grant applications so I have been looking around for the finest site to get one. Could you advise me please, where could i acquire some?

  12. Anonymous

    July 18, 2015
    1:59 a.m.

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already ;) Cheers!

  13. Anonymous

    July 20, 2015
    4:23 p.m.

    Very well written article. It will be beneficial to anyone who usess it, including yours truly :). Keep up the good work – can’r wait to read more posts.

  14. Anonymous

    July 20, 2015
    6:43 p.m.

    This site is my inhalation, really good layout and perfect subject matter.

  15. Anonymous

    July 21, 2015
    7:27 a.m.

    Hi my family member! I want to say that this post is awesome, nice written and come with almost all vital infos. I would like to see extra posts like this.

  16. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    6:42 a.m.

    I like this web site very much, Its a real nice billet to read and incur info . “There is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.” by Gore Vidal.

  17. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    10:03 a.m.

    There are actually a variety of particulars like that to take into consideration. That is a great level to carry up. I supply the thoughts above as normal inspiration but clearly there are questions just like the one you carry up where a very powerful thing might be working in sincere good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around issues like that, however I’m certain that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Each boys and girls feel the impression of just a second’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  18. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    6:26 p.m.

    What¦s Taking place i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It absolutely useful and it has helped me out loads. I hope to give a contribution & aid different users like its helped me. Good job.

  19. Anonymous

    July 28, 2015
    5 p.m.

    hello!,I like your writing so much! share we communicate more about your article on AOL? I need a specialist on this area to solve my problem. May be that’s you! Looking forward to see you.

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...