Political Buzz April 27, 2012: House Passes Bill Keeping Student Loan Rates from Doubling 215-195 — Paid with Healthcare Funds — President Barack Obama Promises Veto

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

IN FOCUS: HOUSE PASSES BILL KEEPING STUDENT LOAN RATES FROM DOUBLING 215-195 — PAID WITH HEALTHCARE FUNDS

House Rejects Increase in Student Loan Rates: Moments after an unusual fiery appeal from Speaker John A. Boehner, the House voted 215 to 195 on Friday to prevent a doubling of student loan rates and challenge President Obama over a veto threat. The bill, which would strip $5.9 billion…. – NYT 4-27-12

  • GOP ignores White House veto threat, passes bill to keep student loan rates: Republicans ignored a veto threat and overcame a rebellion by party conservatives to push a bill through the House Friday keeping interest rates on millions of federal student loans from doubling this summer. Lawmakers voted 215-195 to…. – WaPo, 4-27-12
  • House approves student loan bill, paid for with healthcare funds: Setting the stage for another showdown with the Obama administration, Republicans in the House on Friday narrowly passed legislation to prevent a rate hike on student loans — to be paid for with funds from the nation’s new…. – LAT, 4-27-12
  • House votes to extend low rates on federal student loans: The US House approved, on a mostly party-line (215-195) vote, a $5.9 billion bill to maintain low interest rates for Stafford student loans, paying for it by slashing funds for a provision of President Obama’s…. – USA Today, 4-27-12
  • GOP, Democrats make student loans an election-year issue: Both parties are advancing plans to address mounting student loan debt while disparaging the approach of their opponents…. – CS Monitor, 4-26-12

No Time For Old Political Battles

Source: WH, 4-27-12

On July 1, unless Congress acts, interest rates will double for more than 7.4 million students with federal loans. Fortunately, even though they voted just weeks ago in lockstep to allow this increase, Republicans in Congress have come around on the issue since President Obama took it to the American people – claiming they’re ready to step up and stop the rate hike. Unfortunately,  rather than work together to ensure interest rates on student loans don’t double, they have decided to re-fight old political battles, proposing to eliminate the health care law’s Prevention and Public Health Fund to pay for this important reform. This proposal would put women’s health at risk. And fighting old political battles won’t protect students and young people from major rate hikes.

Eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund would have a devastating effect on women’s health and our work to prevent disease and illness. Eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund would mean:

  • Hundreds of thousands of women could lose access to vital cancer screenings.   Prevention Fund resources are expected to help more than 300,000 women be screened for breast cancer in 2013 and more than 280,000 be screened for cervical cancer.
  • Programs that help to prevent congenital heart defects, prevent fetal alcohol syndrome, and promote early identification and intervention efforts for children with developmental delays and disabilities could be eliminated.
  • Tens of thousands children could lose access to immunizations.

These are just a few of the important ways the Prevention and Public Health Fund will help keep millions of Americans healthy. Keeping college affordable for America’s students should not come at the expense of putting women’s health at risk.

The Senate will soon vote on a more viable solution to keep interest rates low and provide students a fair shot at an affordable education, by closing a loophole that allows people making more than $250,000 a year to avoid paying payroll taxes. Congress should find a bipartisan solution to keep rates low without hurting Americans’ health or increasing the deficit. There’s no good reason for interest rates to double for over 7 million students. But Republicans in Congress must prove that they’re serious about setting aside the political fights of the past and actually getting this done.

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