More Student Groans

- July 9, 2013

Obama Spokesman Jay Carney Refuses To Take A Position On Student Loan Debate Despite Being Asked Four Consecutive Times



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White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Refused To Take A Position On A Bipartisan Senate Plan To Reform Student Loans. NBC's CHUCK TODD: "Is the administration's position on the Manchin-Blunt-Alexander-Angus King bipartisan student loan compromise in the Senate?" WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: "The President is for, as you know, a long-term fix here. But we are generally for resolution of this problem because we have already passed the deadline whereby students face a doubling of their loan rates, and there is no reason why in our view, this cannot be worked out by the Senate and the House." TODD: "So you're supportive of this compromise?" CARNEY: "Well we are supportive of a process that leads to a compromise and a resolution here, one that ensures that rates are kept low for students, that does not try to reduce the deficit on the back of students by jacking up their rates, and that ensures that middle-class families are able to pay the costs of college and that those that aspire to the middle class have a chance at paying for college." TODD: "I understand, but for or against, or no position on it?" CARNEY: "I don't have a specific position on a piece of legislation beyond the assertion that there is a path towards compromise that achieves the president's principles. And we urge members of both houses and both parties to reach that compromise because the clock is ticking. We are confident that a compromise can be found that will be retroactive and therefore not cause harm to students and their families. But the fact is, the longer we wait, students and their families will be planning for the fall and the future and have to make decisions based on what they believe will be their rates." TODD: "I am going to keep following up. So could you support it or not support it?" CARNEY: "We support a process. Supporting a single bill is not the answer here." (White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, Press Briefing, Washington, D.C., 7/9/13)

What Is The White House Refusing To Support? A Proposal That Mirrors Obama's Own Plan And Has Support From Obama's Fellow Democrats

The Bipartisan Senate Plan Would "Permanently Reform" All Federal Loan Rates And Meets Requirements Sought By Obama's Own Proposals. "The proposal from Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Angus King (I-Maine), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) would permanently reform all federal loan rates and take the nettlesome issue off Washington's plate year after year. It would peg subsidized and unsubsidized loans to 10-year Treasury notes plus 1.85 percent, with higher percentages for graduate student loans. The interest rates would be locked in for the life of the loan, a key requirement of the president's that was not met in the House bill." (Burgess Everett, "Scrambling For Student Loan Rate Fix," Politico, 7/7/13)

  • "The Rate For New Subsidized Loans Shot Up From 3.4 Percent To 6.8 Percent On July 1 After Divisions Among Senate Democrats Made Finding A Solution Untenable." "Congress returns to Washington this week groping for a way to retroactively fix a high-profile doubling of some federal student loan rates. The rate for new subsidized loans shot up from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1 after divisions among Senate Democrats made finding a solution untenable." (Burgess Everett, "Scrambling For Student Loan Rate Fix," Politico, 7/7/13)
  • "A Democratic Leadership Aide Called The Situation 'Awkward,' Adding: 'We Need To Get It Resolved ." "Senate leaders concede that the optics aren't great. A Democratic leadership aide called the situation 'awkward,' adding: 'We need to get it resolved.'" (Burgess Everett, "Scrambling For Student Loan Rate Fix," Politico, 7/7/13)

The Plan "Draws From Formulas For Setting Future Interest Rates That Have Been Proposed By President Obama And House Republicans In A Bill They Approved Last Month." "A bipartisan group of lawmakers Thursday will introduce a compromise student loan proposal aimed at preventing a massive increase in student loan interest rates on July 1. The proposal, which was hammered out over the past week by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Angus King, I-Maine, Tom Coburn, R-Okla., Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., draws from formulas for setting future interest rates that have been proposed by President Obama and House Republicans in a bill they approved last month." (Abby D. Phillip and Jeff Zeleny, "New Bipartisan Student Loan Deal Faces Long Odds In Senate," ABC News' The Note, 6/26/13)

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) "Suggested Last Week That His Democratic Colleagues Are Being Unreasonable" On Student Loans, Saying The Bipartisan Bill Would Attract More Of Them "If People Are Sincere About Fixing Things." "Sen. Kay Hagan (N.C.), one of the Senate's most vulnerable Democrats, is leading the messaging campaign. On Thursday, she called the 3.4 percent rate freeze 'critical for so many students and so many families in North Carolina and around the country.' Hagan and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) are sponsors of the legislation. But their strategy is undermined somewhat by three members of the conference who have cut a side deal to peg student interest rates to the fluctuating rate of 10-year Treasury notes. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), one of the signatories to that bipartisan deal, suggested last week that his Democratic colleagues are being unreasonable. 'I hope that certain people start looking at truly compromising and working at something that fixes it,' Manchin said, when asked about opposition among Democratic colleagues to his proposal. He said he could attract more Democratic supporters 'if people are sincere about fixing things.'" (Alexander Bolton, "Dems Divided Over Student Loan Rates," The Hill, 6/29/13)

  • Manchin Said The Bipartisan Proposal Was "Along The Same Lines" As One Proposed In Obama's Own Budget. "Manchin described it as 'along the same lines' as a plan included in Obama's budget. This has opened the door for Republicans to slam Democratic leaders for being unwilling to compromise on the rates issue." (Alexander Bolton, "Dems Divided Over Student Loan Rates," The Hill, 6/29/13)

If Students Loan Rates Are Allowed To Double, Democrats Will Only Have Themselves To Blame

ABC News' Jeff Zeleny: "Student Loan Saga Deepens: Democrats Fighting Democrats." "Student loan saga deepens: Democrats fighting Democrats. Harkin is on Senate floor trashing White House proposal for failing to cap rates." (Jeff Zeleny, Twitter Feed, 7/9/13)

"If Democratic Leaders Fail To Pass Their Student Loan Fix Into Law, Democrats Will Be Partly To Blame." "If Democratic leaders fail to pass their student loan fix into law, Democrats will be partly to blame. Several Democratic senators who have partnered with Republicans on how to address the student loan interest rate spike held a press conference in the Capitol touting their bipartisan student loan plan within moments of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) attacking that proposal as 'worse than nothing.'" (Sahil Kapur, "Democratic Senators Undercut Reid On Student Loans," Talking Points Memo's LiveWire, 7/9/13)

The Bipartisan Senate Proposal Initially Fell "Flat In The Senate Democratic Caucus," Despite Support From Both Republican And Democrat Senators. "A proposal from Sens. Angus King (I-Maine), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has fallen flat in the Senate Democratic Caucus, though Senate Republican leadership supports it." (Burgess Everett, "No Student Loan Fix Before Recess," Politico, 6/27/13)

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