Democrats say Romney is playing politics with student loans
April 24th, 2012
05:15 PM ET
10 years ago

Democrats say Romney is playing politics with student loans

(CNN) - Two Democratic lawmakers Tuesday called on Mitt Romney to back up his words with action regarding his position on extending the lowered student loan interest rates.

"Young Americans and students should be very suspicious of Romney's efforts to have it both ways," Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said on a conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee.

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In a rare moment Monday, Romney agreed with President Barack Obama that Congress should pass a bill that would keep the federal interest rate at 3.4%. Without the extension, the rate would boost to 6.8% on July 1.

In a press conference Monday, Romney said he fully supported the measure, citing the low unemployment rate among recent college graduates.

But Van Hollen criticized Romney as being hypocritical and pointed to Romney's support of the GOP budget plan proposed last month by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. The plan proposes cuts to the federal Pell Grant program.

Piling on, Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison said on the call that Romney's decision to side with Obama on the issue was purely a political move, describing it as "politics of the moment."

Both Ellison and Van Hollen urged Romney to call Congressional leaders and insist they pass the bill.

"If he wants to support the president's plan, what he needs to do is call today for Speaker (John) Boehner and (Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell to adopt the president's plan," Ellison said.

In a different conference call earlier in the day, surrogates for Romney argued the former Massachusetts governor would build a brighter future for college grads than Obama would in a second term.

"Young people who are sitting here, not better off three and a half years later will see that they didn't get the hope and change they were sold in 2008," College Republican National Committee Chairman Alex Schriver said.

Obama, meanwhile, is out on the road this week, drumming up support for the lower rate while speaking at universities in three major battleground states.

On Tuesday, Senate leaders said they will take up the bill within days. McConnell said Republicans are willing to consider the measure as long as there is a way to pay for the extension.

- CNNMoney's Jennifer Liberto contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Chris Van Hollen • DNC • Education • Keith Ellison • Mitt Romney
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. cali girl

    Agreed. I really think he is completely clueless with this issue too. I am very certain he himself went to school with an all expense paid trip from Daddy FunBucks. I will also hazard a guess is 5 sons to put out any of their dollars in that bucket.

    April 24, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. Jules

    So Romney agrees with President Obama – that's a great and rare thing.

    April 24, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |

    The Mitt Romney strategy to winning the White House in 2012: doublethink and pander.


    April 24, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. Bill

    This joker talks out of both sides of his mouth and says whatever is politically expedient. Thanksfully, most voters know this and the result will be borne out in November. I wonder what he will do after the election? Continue his seven year quest for the presidency another four years?

    April 24, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  5. Gurgyl

    Next day he says– I did not say. Flip-flop.

    April 24, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  6. NVa Native

    Life of the rich and famous Daddy RoMoney Warbucks talks about money for the little people – meanwhile his 5 sons share a $100 million trust fund to secure their life of luxury.
    That's $20 million a piece.
    Not that that's a bad thing, but don't you think that being able to give or receive that amount of wealth will change both of their prospectives and their lives immensely.
    That’s what you’d call “filthy rich”.

    April 24, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    Why aren't the Democrats talking about how great the unemployment rate is????

    April 24, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  8. Hal

    Romney has been playing politics with everybody and anybody even within his own party--for all the good that it's done him. He entered politics in 1992 and after 20 years, he is still not Jello with his own party, no less.

    April 24, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  9. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    Why isn't Obama talking to the students about all those jobs he's created out there for them in the last 4 years??? Oh yeah, there aren't any. Oh well college students, hope and change wasn't all it was made out to be. Chalk it up to lessons learned the hard way.

    April 24, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  10. Laura from the Bay State

    I am a middle aged woman who is going to school and has taken out student loans. I feel that both candidates agreeing on this issue is good and I hope Congress will work together to make it happen.

    I am sure that whatever party you are, you want the best for the Children or people who are trying to better themselves and get ahead in this economy. Why put them back by doubling the interest rate on student loans.

    Laura, Boston

    April 24, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  11. Independant Jack

    Mr Etch A Sketch is going to flip on this the second he leaves the school.He already was telling the gop how he wants to cut all programs aimed at helping college students.He is going to do the same to the middleclass and cut what little the middleclass have while the rich get a fat tax break again....This man truely make me and many others sick,how can he lie to so many people and not feel shame?Keep it up Robmey we will all say no to the cult of Robmey in Nov!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 24, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  12. Blindersoff

    I'm just here to laugh today and shake my head from side to side . . . Romney has no credibility. Period. 🙁

    April 24, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  13. Liberals Love Whining But Hate Working

    So he agrees that they should extend it, and then they complain that he is playing politics? No, they are the ones playing politics by trying to make an issue where there is none. Pathetic liberals

    April 24, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  14. SMH DP

    I bet next day Mitt will said he 'misspoke about extending intereset rate'. I meant to say that if we extend the interest rate, we should first cut federal aid spending for college students. Mr. Flip-Flop King.

    April 24, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  15. Dan

    So Romney says the interest rates should stay low for students and liberals on this forum are calling him names? Amazing how angry and scared they are.

    April 24, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  16. Pete

    Truth,I discussed this to your ignorent republicans last week,Ya can't make chicken salad out of chicken s__t.The corporate breaks Bush gave in his terms as president,and they went overseas is why the employment picture isn't so rosey.There's more people in the work force as were in the Bushs years,more college grads,more high school grads,more tech school grads with no where to go.Jobs as you might not know ,they don't grow on trees,much to your ignorence.People are very inventive on creating jobs,very original,but that's for a small percentage of population that's willing to go out on a limb and possibly fail with no backup in the financial world in sight ,to be free of the hassels of working under corporate rule...On their own terms..So smartin up Truth,you seem to be slippin lately.....

    April 24, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  17. Pander Bear

    Not to worry, he'll just backtrack his statement tomorrow. Another day, another flip flop. Hey Mitt, have you figured out whether you support the Lily Ledbetter act yet?

    April 24, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  18. Larry L

    I haven't seen a single issue yet Romney wasn't selling-out on to play politics. At some point he'll be forced to answer the questions about his flip-flopping and at that point – he'll look like a complete fool.

    April 24, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  19. Indy

    Why aren't Republicans talking about how well trickle down economics are working ?

    April 24, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  20. Indy

    Why aren't Republicans talking about how many jobs the tax breaks for the wealthy have created ?

    April 24, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  21. Mc

    This is the same president that pushed and succedded in his budget for federal subsidized loans for graduate students to no longer be available. Now all federal loans are at 6.8 percent for graduate students. Building the future? He's made education more expensive for those who want to be lawyers, doctors, phd, etc.

    April 24, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |