Thursday, April 19, 2018

Democrats, GOP swap charges in student loan fight

WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner accused President Barack Obama on Thursday of conduct "beneath the dignity of the White House." The top House Democrat said Boehner considers the health of women "a luxury."

In a measure of the sharp elbows both parties are throwing this election year, those words were exchanged over legislation whose basic purpose they say they agree on: preventing interest rates on millions of federal student loans from doubling to 6.8 percent this summer.

Their chief remaining dispute is how to pay for the $5.9 billion cost of keeping those rates low. House Republicans would cut spending from Obama's prized health care overhaul law, Senate Democrats would boost payroll taxes on owners of some private corporations and House Democrats would erase federal subsidies to oil and gas companies.

The rhetoric intensified Thursday, a day before the House was set to vote on a GOP-written bill that would keep current 3.4 percent interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans intact for another year. The measure would be paid for by carving money out of a preventive health fund established by Obama's health care overhaul law.

Obama spent two days this week visiting three college campuses in North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa, using campaign-style speeches to complain that Republicans are dragging their feet on blocking the interest rate boosts.

By Thursday, Boehner, R-Ohio, had had enough, accusing Obama of using taxpayer money to launch political attacks on Republicans for a problem that GOP lawmakers were already working to address.

"Frankly, I think this is beneath the dignity of the White House," Boehner told reporters. "For the president to make a campaign issue and then to travel to three battleground states and go to three large college campuses on taxpayers money to try to make this some political issue is pathetic. And his campaign ought to be reimbursing the Treasury for the cost of this trip."

White House spokesman Jay Carney defended the travel as an effort to champion an important policy issue. He said by taking a high-profile stand in favor of extending the student loan rate, Obama succeeded in winning Republican support.

Minutes before Boehner spoke, he was the focus of attacks by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

She accused Republicans of paying for their student loan bill by raiding women's programs.

The House GOP bill would cut a $17 billion prevention and public health fund whose projects include breast cancer screening, childhood immunizations, research and wellness education. Boehner and other Republicans have called the program a "slush fund," and Congress dipped into it this year to prevent reductions in doctors' Medicare reimbursements for doctors.

"It may be a slush fund for him, but it's survival for women," Pelosi told reporters. "That just goes to show you what a luxury he thinks it is to have good health for women."

Comments
Bradshaw and Shanahan: Barbara Bush was role model who loved Florida

Bradshaw and Shanahan: Barbara Bush was role model who loved Florida

By Sally Bradshaw and Kathleen Shanahan, special to the TimesBarbara Pierce Bush loved Florida.With a son as governor, she was practically an honorary Floridian! No one was prouder of former Gov. Jeb Bush than his mom, and no one a more honest critic...
Updated: 1 hour ago
As Prince's health waned, alarm grew in inner circle

As Prince's health waned, alarm grew in inner circle

Investigative files in Prince's death show that members of his inner circle were growing increasingly alarmed about an opioid addition as his health waned in the final days of his life, and that they sought help
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pacino, De Palma remember 'Scarface' at Tribeca reunion

Pacino, De Palma remember 'Scarface' at Tribeca reunion

Old "Scarface" friends said hello again at a 35th anniversary screening Thursday that reunited stars and filmmaker Brian De Palma for an evening full of reflection on the ferocious and garish gangster epic
Updated: 1 hour ago

Mom who lost pink house, court case hopes for box office win

A Supreme Court case that involved a Connecticut woman and her little pink house is now a movie
Updated: 1 hour ago
Asian shares fall back on trade worries, tech outlook

Asian shares fall back on trade worries, tech outlook

Asian shares fall back on trade worries, tech outlook
Updated: 1 hour ago
Durant leads Warriors to 3-0 lead over mourning Spurs

Durant leads Warriors to 3-0 lead over mourning Spurs

Kevin Durant had 26 points, nine rebounds and six assists and the Golden State Warriors beat San Antonio 110-97 on Thursday night in taking a 3-0 series lead over the Spurs, who were still reeling from the passing of Gregg Popovich's wife, Erin
Updated: 1 hour ago
EPA head showed penchant for travel, drivers even before DC

EPA head showed penchant for travel, drivers even before DC

Newly obtained records show Scott Pruitt's penchant for travel and concerns about security was notable even before he became head of the Environmental Protection Agency
Updated: 1 hour ago
Killing renews concerns for homeless Native Americans

Killing renews concerns for homeless Native Americans

The killing of a homeless man from the Navajo Nation in Albuquerque is again exposing the heightened threats and dangers many say Native Americans coping with homelessness face in New Mexico's largest city
Updated: 1 hour ago
Barbara Bush believed literacy could cure other ills

Barbara Bush believed literacy could cure other ills

Barbara Bush came up with the idea of focusing on literacy as first lady during a jog in 1978, the year her husband considered his first run for president
Updated: 1 hour ago
Mirotic, Davis lead Pelicans to 3-0 series lead over Blazers

Mirotic, Davis lead Pelicans to 3-0 series lead over Blazers

Nikola Mirotic scored a career-playoff-best 30 points and the New Orleans Pelicans pushed Portland to the brink of elimination with a 119-102 victory
Updated: 1 hour ago