Smarter Solutions for Students Act

May 31, 2013

Echoes a Plan Obama Offered in April

The week after the GOP-led House passed a bill inspired by one of the president’s proposals to halt an upcoming hike in student loan interest rates, President Obama is holding an event at the White House … to “urge Congress to halt an upcoming hike in student loan interest rates.” Confused? Us too.

You see, the House-passed Smarter Solutions for Students Act accomplishes several goals shared by both the president and Republicans. It stops student loan interest rates from doubling in July. It’s a market-based solution that gets politicians out of the business of setting interest rates. And it is a “long-term fix” for the student loan program that is fairer for students, borrowers, and taxpayers. Oh – and it’s “based on a proposal that Obama offered in his 2014 budget proposal.” See here:

• “The Republican bill echoes a plan Obama offered in April to tie interest rates to the yield on the 10-year Treasury bill, rather than setting them via an act of Congress.” (Washington Post, 5/23/13)

• “House Republicans are willing to give President Barack Obama a rare win … Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., told The Associated Press that his GOP-led panel would support an idea included in Obama’s budget proposal that links the interest rates on student loans to market rates.” (Associated Press, 5/9/13)

• “The U.S. House will vote Thursday on a Republican plan to head off the increase inspired by an unlikely source: President Obama.” (USA Today, 5/22/13)

• “Republicans argue that their bill should be seen as an acceptable solution because it is based on a proposal that Obama offered in his 2014 budget proposal. Obama also proposed basing interest rates on the 10-year Treasury note.” (The Hill, 5/23/13)

• “President Obama proposed pegging loan rates to the rate at which the government borrows, plus a relatively modest markup. On Thursday, the House Education and the Workforce Committee endorsed a similar policy. … There’s no reason to delay passing such a policy.” (Washington Post, 5/20/13)

This bill is also part of the GOP plan for economic growth and jobs. Too many students owe big debts and can’t find the jobs to pay for them. Making the student loan process easier and fairer is just one way Republicans are trying to expand opportunity and help make life work for families across the country.

Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on much, so it’s sad to see the president cynically picking a fight on an issue where we do. We understand campaigning comes more naturally to this White House than governing, but urging Senate Democrats to pass this bill sure would be a much better use of their time.

Learn more about the Smarter Solutions for Students Act here:
• Fact Sheet on the Smarter Solutions for Students Act (Committee on Education & the Workforce)
• GOP Student Loan Fix About Making Life Work & Expanding Opportunity for Jobs
• House Passes Smarter Solutions for Students Act
• House to Vote on Student Loans Today
• Taking the Politics Out of Student Loans

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