U.S. Rep. John Kline was in the Oval Office Friday to witness President Obama sign a hard-fought bill to cut student loan rates, legislation that the Minnesota Republican shepherded through the House.
The ceremonial signing capped a months-long congressional battle over student loan rates, which rose sharply on July 1. It also represents a significant bipartisan accomplishment for Kline, who chairs the House Education and Workforce Committee.
Obama, flanked by lawmakers, students and advocates, praised the legislation. He also gently chided the Congress, which increasingly finds itself gridlocked in partisan disputes. “It feels good signing bills,” Obama said. “I haven’t done this in a while. Hint, hint. Hint, hint.”
Kline pronounced himself satisfied, but acknowledged that the student loan bill took longer to hammer out than it should have.
“The criticism is very public and loud that we don’t get things done,” Kline said. “In this case we were able to – over arguably way too long a time – we were able to get this to fruition and get it done in a bipartisan way and get the president’s signature.”
As for the president’s hint, Kline said, “Well, you’ve got to have presidential leadership on some of these things, so I appreciate the ‘hint, hint.’ But in fairness to the president, he got personally involved in this when it got hung up, and I would encourage him to get involved more often.”
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