"So I am now concerned that the president and his party have decided to deliberately allow rates to rise on students and families after July the 1st," Boehner said. "Instead of engaging with the House and Senate Republicans to enact the student loan fix that we all agree is needed, they seem to be intent on picking a fake fight to create some kind of a distraction.
Last week, the Senate held a pair a votes on a GOP student loan bill and a Democratic bill to maintain the lower rate for another two years, paid for by revenues generated by closing tax loopholes over the next decade. But both votes failed, and so far, Senate Democrats have not given any outward indication of when or whether they would try again.
Earlier Thursday, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) asked consent to pass a bill on loan rates similar to Obama's plan, but Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) objected.
Boehner said that rather than work with differing views in the Senate, Obama and Democrats are looking to blame Republicans.
"The simple truth is the president has run into a roadblock, and that roadblock is his own party over in the Senate," he said. "He can't get the Senate to pass his bill, so the White House has resorted to picking this fight to try to mask the divisions within their own party."
The House-passed bill would set the interest rate on student loans equal to the 10-year Treasury note plus 2.5 percent. The bill would create a variable rate that changes each year, but it also lets graduates repackage their loans into a fixed-rate loan and caps the rate at 8.5 percent.
Obama's plan in his 2014 budget set the rate at the 10-year note plus 0.9 percent, created a fixed rate but had no cap. Several Republicans have argued that while the plans are different, they are similarly structured, which should make it easy to negotiate a final agreement.