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Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I wish to start out this afternoon by calling attention to what appears to be a pretty serious disconnect over at the White House between the President's legislative advisers and his political team.
For weeks, President Obama has been running around ginning up college students and late-night television audiences over an impending interest rate change on college loans, pointing the finger at Republicans. But not only are Republicans supportive of solving this problem, we are the only ones who actually passed legislation to do so. House Republicans passed a bill weeks ago that would have preserved current rates, and late last week Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor, Senator Kyl, and I sent a joint letter to the President proposing multiple solutions to the problem that were thoughtfully and carefully designed to gain the President's support. In fact, the solutions were based on the President's own proposals.
Let me say that again. We sent a letter to the President advocating continuing the current rate for another year and proposed pay-fors that he himself has endorsed. So one can imagine how surprised we were to see one of the President's political advisers say on one of the Sunday shows yesterday that Republicans in Congress are sitting on our hands and an op-ed this morning by the Education Secretary saying that Congress isn't lifting a finger to resolve the problem.
So let's be very clear about all of this. Republicans in Congress are the only ones actually working to solve the student loan issue. Unless the President isn't having his mail forwarded to him on the campaign trail, he knows it as well as I do.
I couldn't help but notice that the President is on a fundraising blitz in Manhattan today. No doubt it is easier to walk into these events when one has a good piece of fiction to sell about Republican obstructionism. But the President's campaign rhetoric is increasingly at odds with reality. On the student loan issue, at least, it is Republicans who have been working on a solution and the President who has been totally AWOL. All he has to do is pick up the phone and tell us which one of his own proposals he will accept. It is that easy. But the truth is that the President doesn't really want to solve this problem. He seems to prefer the talking point, as disingenuous as it is.
Speaking of talking points, it has been suggested by some on the President's political team that Republicans are rooting for economic failure. That is absolutely preposterous. If Republicans wanted failure, we would support this President's misguided policies.
But the larger point is this: We will never solve any of these problems we face while the President continues to put his need for campaign rhetoric ahead of finding bipartisan solutions. And whether it is pretending that small-ball, Post-it note-quality proposals would have a major impact on the economy or pretending that Republicans, who are the only ones actually working on bipartisan solutions, are somehow sitting on our hands, he is doing a major disservice to the American people.
For the good of the country, it is time for the President to take yes for an answer. It is long past time for the President to lead.
Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
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