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U.S. House Republican leaders now want to keep student loan interest rates low by increasing what federal workers pay into their pensions.
Interest rates on student loans will double in July if Congress does nothing. The two parties have been in a standoff over how to pay for extending today's low rates. This week Republicans offered to keep those rates low by forcing government works to contribute more into their pension plans. The plan isn't sitting well with Democrats in the region.
"By my count this is the seventh attempt by the Republican majority here in the House to fund something entirely unrelated on the backs of federal employees," said Rep. Gerry Connolly, (D-Va.).
Connolly accused Republicans of trying to make a political point on the backs of government employees.
"No other group in America has been asked to make any kind of sacrifice, certainly not their oil and millionaire friends," Connolly said of Republicans. "And if we're going to talk about pay-fors, let's start with a basis of equity and this isn't it."
Republicans maintain that federal workers have better pension plans than most Americans, so it's a natural source of new revenue in this time of austerity, they say.