- Nebraska principal sorry for ‘don’t tattle’ flier
- Illinois readies to spend $100M for Obama museum in Chicago
- John Edwards back in court — this time as a lawyer for Va. boy’s malpractice case
- Covered California reports more than 200K in overtime Obamacare sign-ups
- Thanks, Chuck: Hagel says U.S. sending Ukraine sleeping mats, helmets
- HUMPRHIES: The Liberal Bully of the Week is …
- Secret Service threatened to kill Mr. Met if he got close to Clinton, mascot claims
- Sarah Palin to campaign for Senate candidate Ben Sasse in Nebraska
- Boise business entices customers to come break stuff — ‘recreational destruction’
- Fired Yahoo exec’s $60 million golden parachute may be a record
MILLER: Obama’s loan trap
Republicans will lose the youth vote without a better strategy
Congressional Republicans are once again getting outplayed by President Obama.
Earlier in the week, they thought they had neutralized Mr. Obama’s political college tour by agreeing in principle to extend government-backed student-loan interest rates for a year. They did insist on spending cuts to match the $6 billion price tag of subsidizing college education, but the GOP choice of a partisan offset handed the stage to Mr. Obama. They’re now playing the role of Mr. Obama’s punching bag for at least two more weeks. Republicans need an exit strategy.
On Friday, the White House formally threatened to veto the House bill extending the current, artificially low 3.4 percent student-loan interest rate until July 1, 2013, because it would shut down Obamacare’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. House Speaker John A. Boehner defended his chosen pay-for by pointing out that just a couple months ago, the White House budget proposed a $4 billon cut to the program over 10 years, while Republicans would shut it down.
Cue Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who invented a link between the majority’s move and women’s rights. She claimed under the Republican bill that “in order for your [child] to go to college … we’re not going to be able to have preventative care, in terms of screening for breast cancer, cervical cancer, the list goes on and on.” The California Democrat wanted her alternative which would raise taxes on oil companies - an idea she knows has repeatedly failed in the Democratic Senate.
In the Senate, Republicans offered the House language while Democrats introduced an offset that would alter the tax code to slam small businesses. Majority Leader Harry Reid attacked GOP opposition to their plan as “protecting millionaire tax dodgers,” thus picking up on Mr. Obama’s campaign theme of painting Republicans as defenders of the rich. Instead of bringing either bill to the floor, the Nevada Democrat on Thursday shut down the upper chamber, sending senators home on a 10-day recess.
The contrived Stafford loan issue is a blatant attempt by Mr. Obama to win back the 20-somethings who have become disenchanted as the economy continues to drag. While the president tells college students their loans will go up $1,000 unless Congress acts, the truth is only new loans taken after June 30 would be affected.
Even then, those students won’t have to start making loan payments for at least four-and-a-half years. By then, they’ll pay an extra $7 or so per month. If Mr. Obama fails in his re-election bid, these new graduates most likely will have an easier time of landing a job that will allow them to pay back this amount.
The Republican misstep has set up a fight during the last week in June over who cares more about young people. Instead of focusing on which party platform would create economic conditions most likely to encourage future success, the debate is now over who can dole out the most freebies - a game Democrats know how to play best.
House Republicans should have learned to avoid this trap. In February, they folded when it came time to pay for last year’s $100 billion payroll tax-cut extension. Mr. Boehner should ready new offsets that come dollar-for-dollar out of the White House budget to propose when the House and Senate bills go to a conference committee. The sooner this debate is wrapped up on Capitol Hill, the better Republican chances are in November.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Emily Miller is senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times. She is the author of “Emily Gets Her Gun … But Obama Wants to Take Yours” (Regnery 2013). Miller won the 2012 Clark Mollenhoff Award for Investigative Reporting from the Institute on Political Journalism.
- MILLER: Mark Witaschek tax investigation follows D.C. conviction for muzzleloader bullet ammunition
- MILLER: Harry Reid's hypocrisy on 'Equal Pay Day': No women on top leadership staff
- MILLER: Maryland bathroom bill for transgenders is part of LGBT lobby for sex-change rights
- MILLER: Mark Witaschek surrenders to D.C. police 'Gun Offenders Registry'
- MILLER: Michelle Obama has media blackout in China while touting freedom of press
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
Get Breaking Alerts
- Joe Biden's first Instagram pic mocked as shill for sunglass ad
- Removal of military gear limits options for U.S., NATO in Ukraine
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- John Edwards back in court this time as a lawyer for Va. boy's malpractice case
- Pentagon extends deployment of fighter jets to Poland
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- Jews being told to register in Ukraine: John Kerry
- Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch wrecked by retreating feds
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
Recent Letters to the Editor
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Bundy support demonstrates voters' distrust
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Obamacare disasters were avoidable
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Muhammad wouldn't condone Boston bombing
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: High heels: Hazardous to one's health?
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Marshall's comments hurt GOP, pro-lifers