Boehner blames Senate Dems for student loan interest rate hike

Speaker John Boehner on Monday blamed Senate Democrats and President Obama for letting interest rates double on student loans. 

ADVERTISEMENT
At a press conference on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, Boehner (R-Ohio), flanked by fellow House GOP leaders and dozens of interns, pointed a stern finger at Democrats across the dome for failing to act on the interest rate increase before it took effect on July 1st. 

"The House has done its job and the fact is students are going to pay the price when they see the interest rates on their loans double. It's time for (the Senate) to act," Boehner told reporters. "When you have a bipartisan group in the Senate, who had a solution that was not far off from our solution and yet was shot down by (Senate) Majority Leader (Harry Reid), you begin to wonder whether they are looking for a solution."

Last month, House Republicans passed a measure to prevent the current 3.4 percent interest rate from doubling to 6.8 percent on July 1st. The measure was similar to one offered by President Obama in his annual budget proposal. 

For the past several weeks, members of the Senate were busy debating and amending a comprehensive immigration bill that was approved before Congress left D.C. for the July 4th week-long recess. 

The rates increased for students taking on new loans while Congress was out of town, and the Senate is expected to act on a yet-to-be-seen retroactive solution to make sure that students are not going to be hit with the 6.8 percent rate. 

While Republicans were busy criticizing Senate Democrats and Obama on Monday, House Democrats attacked their GOP colleagues. 

House Democrats punched back. Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said that the House GOP was being unreasonable in insisting on a plan that includes deficit-reduction provisions. 

"[The House GOP] attempt now to cast blame, instead of working with us to find a solution, is simply more of the same from a party that isn’t interested in solving problems and getting things done.  We must act now to address this problem – failure to do so will not just make college more expensive, but will also undermine our middle class and America’s future," Van Hollen said in a statement.