President Barack Obama kicked off this week by pushing the Congress not to double the interest rates on student loans. Obama is due for speeches in North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa next week to deliver speeches urging the Congress to pass the extension. The move would undoubtedly appeal to the middle class as well as young voters as his re-election campaign edges closer to November.
Student loans were previously given out at a subsidized rate of 6.8%. However, in 2007, the Democrat controlled house lowered the rate by half to 3.4%. Since the decrease is due to expire in July this year, Obama is seeking to extend the provision for another five years, potentially keeping the rates from doubling again.
During his address on Saturday, Obama stressed that higher education should be affordable to all and it cannot be a luxury. "It's an economic imperative that every family must be able to afford," Obama said. "That's why next week I'll be visiting colleges across the country, talking to students about how we can make higher education more affordable - and what's at stake right now if Congress doesn't do something about it," CNN reports.
While the Republicans question the cost the federal government will have to bear if the low interest rate provision prevails, Obama stresses that more than 8 million students have been benefiting form the subsidized rates and not passing an extension to the legislation can have a profound impact on the lives of those students.
"Over the past few years, Republicans in Congress have voted against new ways to make college more affordable for middle-class families, and voted for huge new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires - tax cuts that would have to be paid for by cutting things like education and job-training programs that give students new opportunities to work and succeed," Obama said.
Obama’s new agenda can make the President a champion of the rights of middle class potentially helping him when he comes face to face with the, who is often criticized for not being able to connect with the average Americans.
The Republicans are not in favor of the provision, saying that it will cost $6 billion a year insisting that the problem has been created by the Democrats themselves during the time they controlled the Congress. They passed the bill in 2007 to lower the rates and later allowed them to roll back to higher levels in the next four years.