House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor have called on President Obama to cancel a campaign speech in Las Vegas to “work with them” on the student loan rate bill. They sent a letter to the White House saying “With all of the great economic challenges facing our country, there is no reason to manufacture political fights where there is not policy disagreement. We cannot understand why you, without having responded to our latest offer, would schedule a campaign-style event in Nevada tomorrow to discuss student loan rates. We urge you to consider canceling tomorrow’s Las Vegas rally and instead work with us so that we can extend these rates before they expire and stay focused on additional measures to help create jobs.”
Since when do Presidents participate in negotiations between the House and Senate? That’s where the disagreement is. The President has stated he agrees with the Senate version. End of conversation. He has also made it abundantly clear that he believes in the separation of powers, and the executive branch should not get in the middle of the legislative branch, except to tell them when he has no intention of bowing down to them.
The Republicans want to fund the student loan program with the elimination of preventative health services for women and other social program cuts, including Meals on Wheels. The President has said he will veto the bill if it goes through with that funding. The Democrats want to fund it by closing a small loophole in taxes for the rich. Boehner and Cantor even had the balls to say they were proposing to fund this program with cuts the President had proposed in his budget. The fact is they are trying to fund it by de-funding a portion of the Affordable Care Act.
The letter, and the decision to release it to the press, are pure political grandstanding. The Republicans are trying to shift blame for the impasse over the student loan rates to the President and away from themselves. They have put themselves hip deep in it with three voting blocs on this one – women, the elderly, and students and their families.
The worst part is not the stupid grandstanding, it’s the number of right wing Americans who bought this stunt.