The House approved a student loan bill Friday on a partisan basis that immediately invoked a veto threat by the White House.
The bill would extend the 3.4% rate on federally guaranteed Stafford loans but would take the $6 billion a year cost from women’s health care programs favored by the White House, inviting the veto threat if the measure is also approved by the Senate.
Otherwise, the student loan rate, which sets the market rate for private loans provided by credit unions, is scheduled to double to 6.8% on July 1. The increase would affect 7.4 million students and, the Obama administration says, cost each student an average $1,000 over the life of their loans.
Democrats voted 165-13 against the bill, with some of their members reluctant to vote against keeping students' costs down, despite the accompanying health care cuts. Democrats wrote a version of the bill, paid for by ending subsidies for oil and gas companies. It never had a chance of moving through the GOP-led House.
Senate Democrats plan a vote next month on their own legislation extending today's interest rates for a year and paid for by making it harder for high-earning owners of many privately owned corporations to shield some of their income from Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes. That vote will also be seen as little more than political posturing because Senate Republicans are certain to derail the measure.