A Republican bill that would keep interest rates on federal student loans low isn’t sincere, the White House said on Thursday, because it wasn't part of the House Republican budget. House Speaker John Boehner charged back, blasting President Obama and congressional Democrats for conjuring up a “fake fight” in an election year.
“This is the biggest job in the world, and I’ve never seen a president make it smaller,” said Boehner, R-Ohio.
At the White House, press secretary Jay Carney made the point that House Republicans had all voted for the budget blueprint of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and noted that a vote to keep rates low failed in committee deliberations.
“They can’t have it both ways” and support low student loan interest rates as well as the Ryan budget, Carney said. Republicans have decided to support the low rates “in large part because the president took his argument out to the country, and they felt that pressure.”
Boehner said he was indeed upset over Obama’s campaign-style swing this week to college campuses in North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa to push for Congress to pass another temporary freeze on the interest rate for federally subsidized student loans, so they won't jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1.
Boehner complained the trips cost taxpayers $179,000 an hour and said it was wrong for the president to “to travel to three battleground states, and to go to three large college campuses, on taxpayers’ money to try to make this a political issue.”
“Frankly, I think this is beneath the dignity of the president,” he said.