McConnell: Democrats trying to create 'scapegoat' with student interest rate proposal

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McConnell's accusation came the day the Senate is set to vote on Republican and Democratic proposals to extend the current 3.4 percent student interest rate on Stafford loans. If Congress does not act before July 1, the rate is set to double to 6.8 percent.

Democrats want to pay for extending the rate by closing a tax loophole for shareholders of S-corporations. Republicans oppose that funding method and instead want to pay for the $5.8 billion extension by taking money from a preventive-care fund in the Obama administration's healthcare reform plan.

"The Democrat plan is designed to fail," McConnell said Thursday. "In order to cover the cost of a temporary rate freeze that both parties want, they propose to divert $6 billion from Medicare and to raise taxes on small businesses — hurting the very companies we’re counting on to hire today’s college graduates.

“They’ve known for months we won’t support this tax hike and that it couldn’t pass either chamber. It has already failed. But they’re proposing it anyway, for a second time."

McConnell added that Democrats could have found an agreement that Republicans would likely support.

"If Democrats would allow it, the chairman and ranking member could write a bill that could pass," McConnell continued. “But since passage isn’t their goal, our friends on the other side huddled behind closed doors, out of sight of the public and the press, and produced the tax hike instead of letting the committee do its work.

“We already know how this story ends. So why are Democrats forcing us to vote on their failed proposal yet again? Because, as I’ve said, they’re more interested in drawing our opposition — of creating a bad guy — than in actually solving the problem," McConnell said.

Both the Democratic and Republican extension proposals will fail. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) set 60-vote thresholds for both proposals, making passage particularly unlikely.