House Speaker John A. Boehner said Thursday that President Obama misused taxpayer money this week when he visited three college campuses and demanded Congress extend student loan subsidies.
“His campaign ought to be reimbursing the Treasury for the costs of this trip,” Mr. Boehner said.
Mr. Obama has been urging Congress to pass an extension of subsidies enacted in 2007 that keep student loan interest rates at 3.4 percent. Without action the rates will double this summer to 6.8 percent.
But lowering the rates will cost $6 billion for one year. Now Mr. Obama and lawmakers are sparring over how to come up with that money.
Mr. Boehner said the president is manufacturing a political issue by telling students their rates could go up, because Mr Boehner said both Democrats and Republicans were already working to keep loan rates low.
Mr. Obama visited college campuses in North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa this week to press for lower student loan rates, and he had sharp criticism for Republicans who he said oppose student loans.
Mr. Boehner, though, said the trip was a manufactured political event and said Mr. Obama’s campaign, not taxpayers, should pay for it “at a cost of $179,000 an hour” — the amount it costs to keep Air Force One aloft.
“This is the biggest job in the world, and I’ve never seen a president make it smaller,” Mr. Boehner said. “The president keeps attempting to invent these fake fights because he doesn’t have a record of success or a positive agenda for our country.”