Mitch McConnell: White House Continues to Ignore GOP Student Loan Rate Solutions

June 6, 2012

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday regarding the need for the President to work with Republicans on a serious solution to rising student loan rates:

“I’d like to stick with the student loan issue this morning, because the administration’s approach to this problem is nothing short of surreal.

“I have in my hand a letter that’s been signed by the top two Republicans in the House, and the top two Republicans in the Senate. It lists no fewer than four good-faith bipartisan proposals to resolve this issue, drawing on ideas the President’s already shown a willingness to support. We sent this letter to the President five days ago.

“Yet now we learn that the Vice President plans to have a group of college presidents over to the White House today to ‘reassert the call for Congress to stop the student loan interest rate from doubling.’

“Well, let me make a suggestion. Why doesn’t the Vice President just pick up the phone, choose one of the proposals we laid out in our letter, and then announce at this meeting that the problem’s been solved.

“That way he’ll give these folks some good news to bring back to their campuses, instead of just asking them to be props in this elaborate farce the White House political team cooked up on this issue.

“Let me repeat what I said yesterday: the only people dragging their feet on this issue are over at the White House.

“Republicans in Congress have been crystal clear for weeks: we’re ready to resolve this issue–to give students the certainty they need about their loan payments.

“The President may find it politically useful to keep these young people off balance, but we don’t think they should have to wait another day on this. And it’s inexcusable for the President to do so.

“That’s why we’ve bent over backwards to find a resolution.

“And that’s also why it’s completely absurd for the President or Vice President to claim otherwise. Which brings me to a larger point.

“I realize the President’s concerned about his re-election. I understand he’s placing a higher priority on fundraising and on trying to make Republicans look bad as he ramps up for November.

“I get his rationale for running a negative campaign. If I were him, I wouldn’t want to brag about my record either. But I would remind him that’s he still President, that Americans are looking for leadership, and that the economic problems we face will only get worse if he avoid them for the next six months.

“So whether it’s the student loan issue or the prospect of a massive tax hike at the end of the year, Republicans are ready to work with the President to provide the kind of certainty that people need right now. But it’s a two-way street. And we’ll never solve these problems if the President continues to mislead the American people about what Republicans in Congress are willing to do to help.”

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