U.S. House Votes to Extend Low Student Loan Rates

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WASHINGTON, April 27 – The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives defied a White House veto threat on Friday and voted to take money from President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare overhaul to pay for an extension of low-interest federal student loans.

Democrats and Republicans have until July to find an election-year compromise. That’s when the rate is set to double on Stafford loans to 6.8 percent for more 7 million students, who represent an important voting bloc.

On a mostly party-line vote of 215-195, the House sent the measure to the Senate where Obama’s Democrats are certain to reject it.

Like Obama, Senate Democrats want to renew the low interest rate for students, but favor covering the $6 billion cost for one year by ending a tax break for the rich.

Obama cranked up pressure on Congress in recent weeks with visits to college campuses where he portrayed Republicans as unsympathetic to their plight.

House Speaker John Boehner fired back this week by accusing Obama of playing politics and manufacturing a fight. Boehner insisted that his party would find a solution.

Shortly before the WASHINGTON, April 27 (Reuters) – The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives defied a White House veto threat on Friday and voted to take money from President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare overhaul to pay for an extension of low-interest federal student loans.

Democrats and Republicans have until July to find an election-year compromise. That’s when the rate is set to double on Stafford loans to 6.8 percent for more 7 million students, who represent an important voting bloc.

On a mostly party-line vote of 215-195, the House sent the measure to the Senate where Obama’s Democrats are certain to reject it.

Like Obama, Senate Democrats want to renew the low interest rate for students, but favor covering the $6 billion cost for one year by ending a tax break for the rich.

Obama cranked up pressure on Congress in recent weeks with visits to college campuses where he portrayed Republicans as unsympathetic to their plight.

House Speaker John Boehner fired back this week by accusing Obama of playing politics and manufacturing a fight. Boehner insisted that his party would find a solution.

Shortly before the House vote, Boehner stood on the House floor to state his view that the matter must be resolved.

“Nobody wants to see student loan interest rates go up – especially when you got recent college graduates (with) 50 percent unemployed or under employed because of the president’s economic policies.”

Despite claims to the contrary, Democrats said Republicans had little if any interest in addressing the problem until Obama made it an issue in campaign-style speeches.

“The Republicans have folded, because the president made the issue too hot to handle,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. House vote, Boehner stood on the House floor to state his view that the matter must be resolved.

“Nobody wants to see student loan interest rates go up – especially when you got recent college graduates (with) 50 percent unemployed or under employed because of the president’s economic policies.”

Despite claims to the contrary, Democrats said Republicans had little if any interest in addressing the problem until Obama made it an issue in campaign-style speeches.

“The Republicans have folded, because the president made the issue too hot to handle,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Diana Jean Schemo

Diana Jean Schemo

Diana Jean Schemo is co-founding executive editor of 100Reporters and an award-winning former foreign, national and cultural correspondent for The New York Times and the Baltimore Sun.

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