Democrats quickly panned House Speaker John Boehner's proposal to pay for a student loan bill by cutting into President Obama's healthcare law.
Boehner (R-Ohio) said the House will vote Friday on a proposal that would block a major increase in student loan interest rates, which he plans to offset by cutting the healthcare law's prevention fund.
Obama has backed cuts to the prevention fund in the past — he agreed to strip one-third of its funding in a budget agreement last year. But the administration said healthcare is the wrong way to pay for the student-loan extension.
"This is no time to refight old political battles. We should be able to work together to find offsets that don’t penalize middle-class families or undermine efforts to help more Americans stay healthy," White House spokesman Nick Papas said. "We look forward to working with Congress and we are confident we will reach an agreement that ensures we don’t double student-loan interest rates.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was also critical.
“Democrats are opposed to shortchanging an important program that supports crucial efforts to prevent disease and protect against public health emergencies just so Republicans can continue protecting millionaire tax dodgers," Reid said in a statement.
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