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House Votes to Extend Student Loan Rates

3:52 PM, Apr 27, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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The House of Representatives voted 215-195 to keep federal student loan rates at their current level of 3.4 percent, offsetting the cost by eliminating a $5.9 billion fund created by Obamacare. The Associated Press reports:

The White House and most Democrats opposed the $5.9 billion bill because of how Republicans covered the costs: eliminating a preventive health care fund in President Barack Obama's health care law. They say the program mostly benefits women, while Republicans call it a loosely controlled slush fund.

"This is a politically motivated proposal and not the serious response that the problem facing America's college students deserves," the White House wrote in a veto message shortly before the House vote.

Democrats accused Republicans of supporting the effort to keep student loan interest rates low only because of political pressure from Obama.

The House measure is destined to die in the Senate, where majority Democrats have written a version of the bill paid for by raising Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes on high-income owners of some privately owned companies, which GOP senators oppose.

The AP also notes that Democrats voted earlier this year to take money from the preventive health care fund. President Obama has been campaigning at universities across the country this week urging Congress to pass a freeze on raising the interest rates on Stafford loans, which are back by the federal government. 

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