Will Dems Vote to Double Student Loan Rates & Protect ObamaCare Slush Fund?


Are Democrats really going to let student loan rates go up because they want to protect a health care reform slush fund?” (POLITICO, 4/26/12)

That question will be put to the test tomorrow when the House votes on legislation extending the current interest rates on student loans for one year, taking action on an issue everyone agrees must be addressed in the middle of a struggling economy.  This problem has come about because, back in 2007, a Democratic-controlled Congress put in place a law that would double student loan interest rates this year. 

Introduced by Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL), the Interest Rate Reduction Act (H.R. 4628) will be paid for by taking money from a slush fund in President Obama’s health care law – a law that is making it harder for American small businesses to hire new workers and recent college graduates.  In a statement introducing the measure, Rep. Biggert pointed to the challenges young Americans are facing in President Obama’s economy:

“Our sons and daughters are moving back home after college, and Washington’s tax-and-spend policies have only made it harder to find work.  According to a recent AP report, at least half of recent graduates are unemployed or underemployed. … My bill eliminates an unnecessary expense in the President’s health care law, extends lower rates for college loans, and provides financial security for today’s students without raising taxes on their potential employers.”

There is bipartisan agreement on fixing this problem.  The House’s quick and responsible action has put President Obama on the defensive over campaign-style theatrics charged to hardworking taxpayers and designed to pick a fight that doesn’t exist.  As Speaker Boehner noted yesterday, Republicans and Democrats on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol have long agreed this is a problem that must be addressed.   “What Washington shouldn’t be doing is exploiting the challenges that young Americans face for political gain,” Boehner said. 

There is bipartisan agreement on cutting this ObamaCare slush fund.  Just as there is bipartisan agreement on fixing this problem, there is also a history of bipartisan support for cutting this ObamaCare slush fund, a.k.a. the ‘Prevention and Public Health Fund.’  The president has already signed bipartisan legislation that takes money from this slush fund, and his budget for the coming fiscal year also calls for cutting it.  Last spring, the House passed H.R. 1217 with bipartisan support to repeal the fund altogether.

Built on a bipartisan foundation, the Interest Rate Reduction Act shows that we can come together to fix this problem and continue focusing on the challenges Americans young and old are facing in President Obama’s economy – without any need for taxpayer-funded, campaign-style drama.