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.

How Senate Democrats and the White House frame their response to this gambit will be interesting and important.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.