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'Playing Politics' With Interest Rates On Student Loans

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Facing daunting job prospects, grads may soon have to cope with much higher interest rates on student loans as well.
Cindy Schultz: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29008389@N03/4587170691/
Facing daunting job prospects, grads may soon have to cope with much higher interest rates on student loans as well.

As President Obama stumps in Nevada, pushing a proposal to keep student interest rates low, Republicans in the region say he's playing politics with what should be a non-partisan issue.

College students in the region are facing a bleak job market. And those students may have their troubles compounded, as interest rates on student loans are set to double on July 1 if Congress doesn't act. In an exclusive interview with WAMU, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan called on lawmakers to work out their differences over how to pay for keeping interest rates low.

"Whether it's here in the D.C. area that has so many great colleges, or whether it's across the country, the bottom line is if these interest rates double, it will impact over seven million Americans," said Duncan. "There is nothing good about that for individuals, for their families, for this region, for universities, for our country or for our country's economy."

It will cost around $6 billion to keep student interest rates low for students. Republican leaders want to accomplish this through raising pension contributions for federal workers and by decreasing overpayments of Social Security. Democrats say those proposals are all politics, a charge denied by Virginia Republican Congressman Morgan Griffith.

"Look, we'd like to get this thing off the table and get it fixed," said Griffith. "That's the bottom line. It can't be as the president would like it to be — always his way. He's got to compromise some and work with us. We're not seeing that happening."

The Obama Administration has yet to formally respond to House Republican leader's latest offer.

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