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GOP calls on Obama to step in on student loan rate bill

June 22, 2013 at 3:27 PM

WASHINGTON, June 22 (UPI) -- The Republican chairman of the House Education Committee Saturday urged Senate Democrats to pass a bill to block a scheduled doubling of student loan rates.

Delivering the weekly GOP address, Rep. John Kline of Minnesota said a bill passed last month by the House was similar to a proposal by President Barack Obama that would tie rates to the market.

Kline charged the Senate had "actively" blocked the "president's plan" and refused to consider the House bill, ABC News reported.

Student loan rates will increase from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on new subsidized Stafford loans July 1 if nothing is done.

Allowing rates to be set by the market would resolve the last-minute wrangling, he said.

"We're in this predicament because politicians put themselves in charge of setting interest rates, guaranteeing exactly this type of down-to-the-wire uncertainty for students and their families," Kline said. "What we need is a long-term solution that gets Washington out of the business of setting rates altogether.

Kline called on Obama to show more leadership in resolving the issue, noting that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, sent the president a letter this week asking him to get involved in the dispute.

"Because of our efforts," Kline said, " there are finally signs of progress toward a bipartisan plan for a long-term market-based solution, but we need to finish the job -- and do so soon."

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