Monday, June 25, 2012

Showcase Blog: Will Republicans Really Allow Student Loan Rates to Double?

President Obama speaks out about student loan rates in April.

In April, I had the chance to be on a White House conference call with President Obama and some of his aides who discussed the possibility that student loan interest rates could double if Congress doesn't act by July 1st. Seven million students would be affected, President Obama told us, with rates jumping from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. At the time, Mitt Romney claimed to agree with the President and Congressional Republicans seemed to as well.

Yet here we are just a few days from the July 1st deadline and Congress has done… nothing. Well, what does Congress do these days? Senate Majority leader Harry Reid says the Senate is working on a solution, but even if the Senate Democrats find a solution, will Senate Minority Leader McConnell and the obstinate Republicans agree? It’s not looking great, to be honest. We all know that in this uncertain economy, which has had a remarkably negative toll on young people, the last thing needed is another stumbling block for recent high school graduates, college students, and college graduates.

But will the Republicans agree to do anything about it? McConnell said after the 2010 elections that his primary goal was to ensure that president Obama wouldn’t be reelected. Since then, some believe that the GOP has purposefully tried to sabotage the economy in the hope that it will make reelection for the president more difficult. But will they really make life harder for struggling college students in the name of winning the White House? Are they really foolish enough to think they could get away with that?

It seems they are. While it's currently uncertain how the negotiations between Reid and McConnell will turn out, we do know that Republicans have attempted to exchange continued low interest rates on student loans for decreased funding for screenings for a women's medical fund that pays for breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings. Leave it to the Republicans to turn a straightforward issue on student loan rates into another facet of the war on women.

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