National Dems target Kline in student loan standoff
May 31, 2013 — 2:57pm
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has launched online and print ads in six college newspapers that single out Republicans, including U.S. Rep. John Kline, on the issue of student loan rates.
The ads will run in the Minnesota Daily, the campus newspaper of the University of Minnesota, which is not in Kline's district.
With the rate on federally subsidized student loans set to double on July 1 if Congress doesn't act, lawmakers remain divided over a solution. Without an agreement, the loan rate for undergraduate students would double, rising from 3.4 percent to 6.3 percent.
Last week, House Republicans passed Kline's plan to address the pending increase by switching loan rates to market-based system. But it's unlikely to become law because Democrats don't approve of it. The day before the House approved Kline's legislation, the White House threatened to veto it, arguing that the plan would create uncertainty for students and families.
For the second consecutive summer, the pending rate hike will be a hot-button issue for college students across the country. On average, Minnesota college students graduate with a $30,000 loan debt.
During an event at the White House today, President Obama publicly called on Cognress to prevent the loan rates from doubling. Like Kline, Obama has also voiced support for a switch to market rate loans, which would end the system in which rates are set by Congress.
Kline, the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, spent Thursday touring campuses and meeting with students in his district.
"It's time for the president to stop politicizing the student loan issue," Kline said in a statement today. "Instead of holding campaign-style events, the president should urge his Senate colleagues to put forward their own plan to solve the problem."
Facing a similar deadline on the student loan issue last summer, Congress simply extended the 3.4 percent rate for another year. Now the matter has resurfaced, with little more than four weeks until zero hour.
The DCCC would not reveal how much they're spending on the ad campaign against Kline.
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College students taking out new loans for the fall term will see interest rates twice what they were in the spring — unless Congress fulfills its pledge to restore lower rates when it returns after the July 4 holiday.