With young adults not nearly as enthusiastic about pulling the lever for President Obama as they were in 2008 (as my colleague Nat noted recently), President Obama has seized on the impending hike of interest rates for subsidized Stafford student loans (they are slated to go from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent in July, if Congress does not intervene). In his Saturday radio address, Obama blasted the hike, before going on to criticize congressional Republicans for voting “against new ways to make college more affordable for middle-class families, and vot[ing] for huge new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.” He’s also scheduled to speak at a trio of colleges in battleground states this week.
But Mitt Romney announced his support for an extension today, taking the air out of Obama’s argument. “Given the bleak job prospects that young Americans coming out of college face today, I encourage Congress to temporarily extend the current low rate on subsidized undergraduate Stafford loans,” he said in a statement. “I also hope the President and Congress can pass the extension responsibly, that offsets its cost in a way that doesn’t harm the job prospects of young Americans.”
However, House Republicans have not yet taken a stand on extending the reduced interest rates, with John Kline, who chairs the Education and Workforce committee, saying he has “serious concerns about any proposal that simply kicks the can down the road,” but adding, per Reuters, that “my colleagues and I are exploring options in hopes of finding a responsible solution.”