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Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, before the majority leader leaves the floor, let me just say I agree entirely that the Senate, it seems to me, is sort of getting back to operating the way the Senate traditionally has. I think the way Senator Roberts and Senator Stabenow have handled the farm bill has been exemplary. Members on both sides have gotten opportunities to offer amendments. We have had a lot of votes, but it is an important bill.
So I commend all of those who have been involved in beginning to work us back in the direction that I think most of the Senate would be comfortable with.
I also want to thank my friend, the majority leader. He has a tough job setting the agenda and deciding how to go about moving legislation. I think the way we have handled the farm bill and other measures to which he has referred in recent months has been a very important step in the right direction.
STUDENT LOAN RATES
Mr. President, 3 weeks ago today, Republican leaders in the Senate joined Republican leaders in the House in calling on the President to resolve a pending increase in student loan rates.
Drawing on some of the President's own ideas, we proposed multiple good-faith solutions to this problem before it is too late. We have been waiting ever since for the President's response. He has actually been missing in action. He has yet to offer a concrete solution. So you can understand our surprise upon learning this morning that the President plans to call on Congress later today to do something about student loan rates.
Mr. President, the Republican-led House of Representatives already passed a bill that would solve the problem. As I said, Republican leaders in the Senate have been on record supporting multiple--multiple--good-faith solutions to this problem for literally weeks. It is actually the Democratic-led Senate that has failed to act, and the President who has failed to contribute to a solution. The reason is pretty obvious.
It was reported yesterday that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching a Web site with a student loan countdown clock aimed at raising money off this issue. The implication is that Republicans are the ones dragging their feet.
As for the President? Well, this is just another sad example of the election-year strategy of deflection and distraction--deflection and distraction.
College graduates are struggling to find work and pay their bills in the Obama economy. He would like them to believe it is somebody else's fault.
Latinos are struggling with high unemployment. He would like them to believe the Republicans are the problem.
Middle-class moms are struggling to make ends meet. He wants them to think we are engaged in some phony war on women.
The President does not have a positive message to send to any of these folks, so he is cooking up false controversies to distract them from his own failure to turn the economy around.
Well, on the student loan issue, we could solve this problem in a sitting. Republicans have acted quickly, and on a bipartisan basis, to help prevent these rates from going up. We have passed a bill out of the House. We have reached out to the President. We have proposed multiple--multiple--solutions.
The only reason this issue is not already resolved--the only reason--is that the President wants to keep it alive a little while longer. He thinks it benefits him politically for college students to believe somehow we are the problem.
It is time to stop playing games. It is time for the President to act.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.
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