GOP Passes Student Loan Bill Despite Threat of Veto

House of Representatives
The House of Representatives met today to vote on a GOP-sponsored bill that would keep the interest rates on federal student loans from doubling come July 1, 2012.

Lawmakers passed the student loan bill with a 215-195 vote, approving it to be forwarded to the Senate for a vote.

But the White House and most Democrats oppose the bill because Republicans hope to pay for the $5.9 billion cost to keep the student loan interest rates from rising by taking money from President Obama’s health care program.

Due to the fact that Republicans hope to curb the cost of this bill with money meant for the health care program, President Obama issued a threat to veto the bill if it came across his desk.

“This is a politically motivated proposal and not the serious response that the problem facing America’s college students deserves,” said the White House in a veto message just before the House vote.

In addition to calling the GOP’s proposal politically motivated, Democrats also alleged the bill was an attack on women’s rights since they argue that the funds Republican’s wish to extract from the health care program would primarily benefit women.

The area of the program that would receive a funding cut would be the $17 billion section that finances immunizations, screenings, research, and wellness education.

Democrats believe cutting funding to programs such as Planned Parenthood unfavorably targets the nation’s women.

“We are seeing the sheer gender bias in this institution against meeting women’s needs,” said Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., as she verbalized the accusation that Republicans are running a sexist agenda.

House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, said Democrats invented such an accusation in order to slander Republicans’ intentions.

He said that the notion that Republicans were trying to cut women’s benefits was “absolutely not true,” and lashed out against those who made such an accusation.

“This is the latest plank on the so-called war on women, entirely created by my colleagues across the aisle for political gain,” he said on the House floor, earning himself a standing ovation from his Republican peers.

Boehner brought up the point that President Obama himself proposed this same fund be reduced in his own budget. He then revealed that the House itself voted to gut the same fund by $4 billion just months ago.

The Speaker wound down his speech, by returning to the debate of student loans, and encouraging his audience to vote for the bill.

When the votes were tallied, 165 Democrats opposed the GOP’s student loan bill, while 13 voted in favor of it.