Obama, GOP Battle Over Student Loans, Young Voters
President Obama and the Republicans wrestled today over student loans and a key demographic group of voters who use them: Young people.
Tipping off a two-day tour of college campuses, Obama called on Congress to renew a low-interest loan program before it expires July 1 and leaves about 7 million students facing higher college costs.
“The interest rates will double unless Congress acts by July 1,” Obama told an enthusiastic crowd of students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He said lawmakers need to stop the rates “from shooting up and shaking you down.”
Speaking in an old basketball arena in Chapel Hill, Obama also called on Congress to maintain such programs as the tuition tax credit and Pell grants, saying: “We have to make college more affordable for our young people. That’s the bottom line.”
Congressional Republicans said they are amenable to a deal on loan interest rates, but the bigger problem is an economy that is producing few jobs for graduates.
“No one wants to see students pay more for their education,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. “This is just another effort by the president to distract from his economic record that is leaving the 50% of new graduates jobless or underemployed.”