Today, Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester) released the following column discussing the House-passed Smarter Solutions for Students Act:
"While pitching its "stimulus' in 2009, the Obama administration predicted it could bring unemployment down to roughly five percent by May of 2013. Today, wages are stagnant, millions of Americans remain out of work, and unemployment remains far higher than promised.
"Some Americans have been fortunate enough to find jobs in recent months amidst modest, yet still-sluggish job growth in recent months. That's always a positive thing, but there's no question that we can do better.
"In the House, our top priority is putting in place policies that will help lead to robust growth and private sector jobs creation. Our Republican jobs agenda (available online at www.gop.gov/jobs/) includes a number of common-sense solutions -- including making the tax code simpler and fairer, repealing the president's health care law that's raising premiums and making it harder to hire, expanding American energy production, controlling government spending, and taking politics out of the student loan process.
"Many of our ideas, like approving the Keystone XL pipeline to boost manufacturing and create more jobs, enjoy bipartisan support. And all of them address problems that Americans are dealing with today.
"Take student loans. In recent years, Washington has done a poor job of setting student loan interest rates, forcing many borrowers to secure loans with higher interest rates than is necessary. In addition -- unless Washington acts by July 1, 2013 -- student loan interest rates are set to double.
"It doesn't take an economist to realize that this creates a serious problem at a time when too many students owe big debts and can't find the jobs to pay for them. A New York Times report last month noted that the United States "has gone from having the highest share of employed 25- to 34-year-olds among large, wealthy economies to having among the lowest.'
"If we're going to get our economy growing the way it should be we need to foster innovation and help expand opportunities for all Americans -- and especially for young people. That's why, on May 23, the House passed the Smarter Solutions for Students Act to reduce rates immediately for most borrowers, prevent student loan interest rates from doubling, and keep politicians from holding these rates hostage every year.
"This isn't just another short-term fix. Our bill would help provide certainty to students and families by moving to a market-based rate and removing politicians from the process together.
"The differences between our House-passed Smarter Solutions for Students Act and a similar proposal outlined by President Obama are very small, and there's no reason why they cannot be overcome quickly. Sadly, rather than working to resolve the issue, the president seems more interested in scoring political points.
"But now is not the time for campaign-style events. It's time to govern. Students and parents deserve better than attacks that reek of partisan politics and the arrogance of power that has taken root in the current administration.
"We can stop loan interest rates from doubling on July 1, but we need President Obama and his party in the Senate to work with us. The sooner we can resolve this issue, the sooner we can move forward with additional measures to build a healthier economy and help put Americans back to work."
Boehner represents Ohio's 8th District, which includes all of Butler, Clark, Darke, Miami, and Preble counties, and the southernmost part of Mercer County. He was first elected to Congress in 1990.