The House will vote on legislation Friday that keeps student loan interest rates from rising, but House Democrats are not happy with Republicans’ plan to pay for it.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) took the opportunity to point out that GOP leaders in the House caved under the pressure from President Obama to act on the expiring interest rate reduction.
“On the floor of this House, at this time, on this day, the Republicans have folded because the President made the issue too hot to handle,” Pelosi said. “They felt the heat of the President.”
But the House’s top Democrat blasted her Republican counterparts for digging into the Prevention and Public Health Fund – a component of Obama’s health care law – to offset the measure.
“Today they’re saying, ‘Ok, we’ll postpone an increase in interest rates for one year’ by bringing a bill to the floor that says, ‘We will do this, but we will only reduce the interest rates by making an assault on women’s health’, a continuation of their assault on women’s health.”
This wouldn’t be the first time the preventive fund was tapped to facilitate an agreement between the two parties. In the payroll tax break debate earlier this year, the Prevention and Public Health Fund was tapped as an offset for extending the payroll tax holiday.
“We weren’t happy that that was the only way that [Republicans] would agree to the payroll tax reduction,” Pelosi said. “But the fact is some money has already been taken out, all the more reason to leave the rest of the money in.”
The former Speaker said that House Republicans weren’t just looking to use the prevention fund as a payfor, but rather were looking to repeal it in its entirety.
Instead, House Democrats would like to nix oil subsidies to pay for the bill rather than tapping into the prevention fund once again. That idea, however, is not likely to materialize. And just to be safe, the White House threatened to veto the measure Friday morning.
“Unfortunately, rather than finding common ground on a way to pay for this critical policy, H.R. 4628 includes an attempt to repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund, created to help prevent disease, detect it early, and manage conditions before they become severe,” the White House said in a statement. “This is a politically-motivated proposal and not the serious response that the problem facing America’s college students deserves. If the President is presented with H.R. 4628, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”