Republicans Broach Options for Breaking Student Loan Impasse

Posted May 31, 2012 at 1:41pm

House and Senate Republican leaders floated a new round of proposals to break a deadlock with President Barack Obama over extending a student loan program, even as Democrats stepped up their attacks on them.

In a letter to Obama, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) argue “there is no reason we cannot quickly and in a bipartisan manner enact fiscally responsible legislation” and lay out two potential compromises.

Noting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) “proposal cannot pass the Senate and is unacceptable to the House,” the GOP leaders broached two options for paying for a one-year extension.

The first would increase federal employee retirement contributions to pay for the program, while the second includes a suite of pay-fors, including placing a limit on the “length of in-school interest subsidies” and revisions to the Medicaid provider tax threshold.

The leaders note the options are based on proposals included in Obama’s 2013 budget and say they “are prepared to support” either.

The letter comes as Democrats have ramped up their attacks on the GOP over student loans, with Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.) slamming Boehner for “never [being] serious about wanting to stop rates from doubling.”