PolitiFactOhio – Interest rates on federally subsidized student loans went on the front burner as a political issue after Mitt Romney followed President Obama in saying he did not want those rates to go up.
Congressional Republicans — who earlier passed a budget allowing the rates to double in July to their 2007 rate of 6.8 percent — closed ranks behind their presumptive presidential nominee.
They voted for a hastily introduced bill that would keep the rate at 3.4 percent, and pay for it with funds intended for preventive health care programs under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Raiding that fund made the legislation unpalatable for Democrats — just as the Democratic proposals to extend the lower interest rates were unpalatable to Republicans.
One of the proposals would have paid for the college loan subsidies by ending tax subsidies for oil and gas companies. Another would end a payroll tax exemption given some business owners.
Ohio’s Sen. Sherrod Brown was a co-sponsor of the latter bill and of earlier legislation to stop the loan rates from going up.