Josh Mandel’s press secretary refuses to offer specifics on candidate’s position on Senate bills

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Josh Mandel’s press secretary refuses to offer specifics on candidate’s position on Senate bills

The Plain Dealer – Among the matters that had people chattering in Washington this week, two of them may actually be finalized by summer. One is reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, important because it would continue funding for protection programs and domestic-violence shelters.

The other is the attempt to block an increase in the interest rate for federally subsidized Stafford student loans, important because without congressional action by July 1, the interest rate for new loans will double, affecting an estimated 7.4 million students.

What does Josh Mandel, the Ohio treasurer who’s running for U.S. Senate, think of the proposed bills that would deal with both these problems? Mandel has taken flak for not answering press questions on specific bills.

The answer on these, it turns out, is still unclear, even though the Senate actually passed one of the bills in question. On Thursday, Democrats who control the Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act. The vote was 68-31, with support from Republicans, despite their concerns about the bill. Republicans such as Ohio’s Rob Portman voted yes in the end, saying the matter was important enough to put aside differences, and Arizona Republican John McCain said it was time to get past what he considered to be phony gender politics.

The legislation now goes to the House, where Republicans plan to push their own version.

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