President criticises lawmakers for failing to strike a deal to prevent students seeing an interest hike on their college loans
President Barack Obama slammed Congress on Saturday for failing to strike a deal to prevent millions of students having to face a doubling of interest rates on their college loans.
In his weekly radio address Obama attacked politicians for stalling in a fight over the estimated six billion dollar cost of keeping the federal loans’ interest rates lower for about 7.4 million college students.
“If we know that a higher education is the clearest path to the middle class, why would we make it harder to achieve?” Obama said.
He added: “There’s no excuse for inaction … We are eight days away from nearly seven and a half million students seeing their loan rates double because Congress hasn’t acted to stop it.”
However, the Associated Press has reported that congressional bargainers do, in fact, appear to be closing in on a compromise that would head off the July 1 interest rate hike.
Aides from both parties told AP that the two sides were moving toward a deal that would see legislation push through Congress this week.
It would likely see the current 3.4% interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans preserved for another year.
The problem arose after a 2007 law gradually reduced interest rates on the loans but then required them to balloon back to 6.8% next month in a cost-saving manoeuvre.
Obama has frequently attacked Congress – where the House of Representatives is controlled by the Republicans – for scuppering efforts at new legislation, especially around issues of spending and job creation.
“This is a time when we should be doing everything in our power – Democrats and Republicans – to keep this recovery moving forward,” he said in his address.
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