Student-loan rate bill booby-trapped


Is our fearless leader really so feckless? Can’t he see the Rove propaganda machine uses the same tactic over and over — tying legislation that would benefit the poor and middle-class to legislation that would provide tax breaks and other advantages to the super-wealthy? Can’t he use more forceful language to spell this out for voters?

From The Raw Story:

President Barack Obama threatened on Friday to veto a House Republican bill that would keep government-backed student loan interest rates at their current level because of a poison-pill amendment, even though his veto would play directly into an obvious trap laid by Republican political strategist Karl Rove.

President Obama has said repeatedly that student loan rates must not go up — which they will on July 1 without Congressional action — and the Interest Rate Reduction Act would indeed accomplish those ends. However, it would do so by eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a key part of Obama’s health care reforms.

“This is a politically-motivated proposal and not the serious response that the problem facing America’s college students deserves,” the administration said Friday in a policy statement (PDF), threatening to veto the bill if it lands on Obama’s desk.

The bill passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Friday afternoon by a margin of 215-195, with votes falling mostly along party lines.

That veto could be issued at hazard to the president, who’s facing a political Catch-22 thanks to a new strategy hatched by former Bush political adviser Karl Rove. Rove’s political action committee, American Crossroads, has a new ad out this week that makes a pitch for the youth vote by condemning Obama as a “cool” president who’s somehow causing students to struggle…

If the president is forced to veto the booby-trapped student loan bill, it will enable Republicans to ultimately claim that the president is doing little to help young people. Without Congressional action, however, government-backed student loan rates will double on July 1, which will make college significantly more expensive for 7.5 million American students, according to the liberal think tank Center for American Progress.

Obama should get out in front on this one, telling “folks” — he loves that word — that the GOP is offering a choice: We’ll keep student loan interest rates low or cut an important health care program. He should say, “Are you folks going to let them get away with this? Wouldn’t you rather keep the student loan interest rates low by doing away with tax subsidies for oil companies?”

The alternative is to stand around pretending his hands are tied before the final vote — which is a pretty good description of how he has conducted himself at crucial times throughout his first term.

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