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US House votes to extend low student loan rates

The House of Representatives voted for a Republican-backed plan to extend low student loan rates which would take money from the health care fund.

House votes to extend student loans at health care expense april 2012Enlarge
A young man holds a sign during an Occupy Wall Street rally against the high cost of college tuitions April 25, 2012 in New York. Scores of students and former students gathered to complain about the high cost of tuitions and college loans. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

The House of Representatives voted on Friday for a Republican-backed plan to extend low student loan rates, according to The Washington Post.

CBS News noted that Democrats voted against the measure and the White House vowed to veto it because it would be paid for by repealing the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which provides screenings for breast and cervical cancer as part of the Obama administration's health care overhaul.

The vote was mostly along party lines, with 215 voting for the measure and 195 against, according to Reuters. USA Today said 30 Republican legislators voted against the bill while 13 Democrats voted for it.

The measure now moves to the Democrat-controlled Senate which is sure to reject it.

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House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi explained Democratic opposition to the bill by saying, "What we're saying here today is stop your assault on women," according to CBS News.

Senate Democrats led by Majority Leader Harry Reid have proposed covering the $5.9 billion cost of extending lower interest rates to students by ending tax breaks for the wealthy, according to Bloomberg.

President Barack Obama said he would veto the bill contained the portion repealing the public health fund to pay for the lower interest rates, and the White House called the measure "politically motivated," reported Bloomberg.

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On his trips to college campuses this week, Obama accused the Republicans of paying "lip service" to the issue without acting. House Speaker John Boehner shot back that Obama was "wasting time on a fake fight" saying the Republicans intended to protect lower student rates, according to USA Today.

On the House floor, Boehner said, "My God, do we have to fight over everything? And now we're going to have a fight over women's health. Give me a break," reported CBS News.

The deadline for the measure is fast approaching, and with no action taken, interest rates on the Stafford Loans would double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120427/us-house-votes-extend-low-student-loan-rates-def