Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, today voted against the Republican plan to maintain student loan interest rates by cutting funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund. The health fund pays for disease prevention and early detection, including screenings for breast and cervical cancer, childhood immunizations and birth defect screenings. Larsen has been an adamant supporter of preventing the doubling of the interest rate.
"While it is great that the Republicans have come around and now say they are on board with our plan to keep student loan interest rates from doubling, it is hard to take their proposal seriously," Larsen said. "In exchange for maintaining interest rates, they want to cut funds that help doctors find and prevent diseases. Those cuts would disproportionately hurt women who depend on the fund for hundreds of thousands of screenings for breast and cervical cancer.
"I agree we should pay for the cost of the bill. The Democratic bill, which I support, would pay for the lower student loan interest rates by eliminating some of the unwarranted tax subsidies to big oil companies.
"We don't need to punish the middle class by cutting back healthcare in order to help kids go to college. That is a false choice, and I reject it."
The White House said the President would veto the bill if passed. In a Statement of Administration Policy, the White House said, "Unfortunately, rather than finding common ground on a way to pay for this critical policy, H.R. 4628 includes an attempt to repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund, created to help prevent disease, detect it early, and manage conditions before they become severe. Women, in particular, will benefit from this Prevention Fund, which would provide for hundreds of thousands of screenings for breast and cervical cancer. This is a politically-motivated proposal and not the serious response that the problem facing America's college students deserves."