Carney: Republicans 'have to have a brick in your head' not to act on student loans

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"At a time when going to college has never been more important, it has also unfortunately never been more expensive," Duncan said. "Families and students are struggling to meet these costs. And there is no reason we should add to their burden."

The briefing comes days before President Obama travels to North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa to speak at college campuses on the issue.

Republicans are accusing Obama of trying cozy up to students in an effort to buy the youth vote.

At the White House on Monday, Duncan insisted that the issue wasn't about politics, but about helping the economy.

"If we want to keep jobs in this country ... we have to have an educated work force," he said. "This isn't Republican or Democrat. I could care less about politics and ideology ... we need an educated work force."

Duncan vowed to take that message to Capitol Hill as the vote looms this summer.

"I'll do whatever it takes," he said.