Blame, Blame, Blame: Obamacare and Student Loans In Spin-Mill
From Crooks and Liars:
Earlier in the day on MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell allowed Sen. Roy Blunt to come on the air and tell this whopper:
If Congress doesn’t act, the interest rates on government-backed student loan will jump in July, so President Obama has made a big push this week to prevent that from happening. Republicans have thus far held up the extension, though presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney called for preserving the lower rates Monday.
But Romney’s “man in Congress,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), seems to misunderstand the issue. In an interview on MSNBC this afternoon, Blunt blamed high student loan rates on the Affordable Care Act [...]
In fact, the rate was set back in 2007, when President Bush signed a Democratic-backed law to lower the rate from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent. That law expires on July 1 of this year, and the lower rates end along with it. The Affordable Care Act and President Obama are entirely irrelevant.
Blunt is likely thinking of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA), a bill that was attached to the Affordable Care Act. And while it did not affect loan rates, it did remove banker middlemen from the student loan process, which will save taxpayers millions of dollars.
Mitchell gave Blunt a complete pass when he made that statement during her show, and Ed Schultz was ready to call him out for lying before he even got on the air this evening on MSNBC. He played part of the interview on his radio show shortly after it aired and vowed to do more reporting on it during the evening, which is exactly what he did in the segment above. Rep. George Miller joined Ed to discuss Blunt’s statement to Andrea Mitchell and how the Republicans are proposing to pay for the reduced interest rates now.
Here’s more on that from Ed Kilgore — House GOP Tries New Gambit on Student Loans:
Given today’s publicity over student loan indebtedness reaching a cool trillion dollars (see Daniel Luzer’s post on this at College Guide), and Mitt Romney’s earlier undercutting of their position, it’s not surprising that House Republicans are signalling that they, too, will support extending current interest rates for student loans.
But there is, of course, a wrinkle, per Politico’s Jake Sherman:
To avoid adding to the debt, Republicans will try to take money from a public health prevention fund in the Democrats’ 2010 health care law. Senate Democrats are aiming for a separate mechanism to offset the price tag of the extension. And that could set up a showdown between the two bodies and the president during this hotly contested election year.
In their usual hammer-headed way, House Republicans will try to combine one popular position (extending current student loan interest rates) with another (gutting ObamaCare). They are counting on no one much noticing that the element of ObamaCare they are raiding in this particular maneuver is funding for the one health care reform everyone claims to support: a stronger focus on preventive health care.