Political Animal


April 25, 2012 5:44 PM House GOP Tries New Gambit on Student Loans

By Ed Kilgore

Given today’s publicity over student loan indebtedness reaching a cool trillion dollars (see Daniel Luzer’s post on this at College Guide), and Mitt Romney’s earlier undercutting of their position, it’s not surprising that House Republicans are signalling that they, too, will support extending current interest rates for student loans.

But there is, of course, a wrinkle, per Politico’s Jake Sherman:

To avoid adding to the debt, Republicans will try to take money from a public health prevention fund in the Democrats’ 2010 health care law. Senate Democrats are aiming for a separate mechanism to offset the price tag of the extension. And that could set up a showdown between the two bodies and the president during this hotly contested election year.

In their usual hammer-headed way, House Republicans will try to combine one popular position (extending current student loan interest rates) with another (gutting ObamaCare). They are counting on no one much noticing that the element of ObamaCare they are raiding in this particular maneuver is funding for the one health care reform everyone claims to support: a stronger focus on preventive health care.

How Senate Democrats and the White House frame their response to this gambit will be interesting and important.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Matt Finnegan on April 25, 2012 6:07 PM:

    For Obama and the whole large Democratic Party to achieve what it claims to support they will have to run against the Republican Congress and if sucessful actually fight after the election for a change. I believed them in 2008 but having a hell of time trusting much of what's said versus what's been done. The Dems have had accomplishments but they've had a lot of failure for lack of fighting to. Any talk about the good people of the loyal opposition is wildly misplaced.

  • Doug on April 25, 2012 8:10 PM:

    The student loan program, as presently constituted, contributes X amount of dollars to the Federal budget in interest payments. IF there's no change in the program; viz: the present interest rates are maintained, it will STILL contribute exactly the same amount.
    So, tell me, WHAT needs to be "offset"?

  • RT on April 26, 2012 12:25 AM:

    'So, tell me, WHAT needs to be "offset"?'

    These are the same guys who say that ending the Bush tax cuts is raising taxes.

  • j on April 26, 2012 8:59 AM:

    Is it true that now the new teapartiers in congress are going home to their districts to ask to be re-elected they are begging for 'earmarks'. Didn't they swear to do away with earmarks?

  • Jimo on April 26, 2012 10:34 AM:

    Why doesn't Obama just go along .... and then spend a week barnstorming the country campaigning against the GOP War on Health?

    If the Republicans keep it up, Obama should be able to maintain a different weekly message focus right into November.