They say so, but is it really still all about party politics in an increasingly divided Congress?
I asked Republicans Brian K. Hill, Linda McMahon and Chris Shays along with Democrat Chris Murphy for comments yesterday about the U.S. Senate’s vote Tuesday blocking a Democratic plan to keep federally subsidized college loans at a low rate. I’m interested this as both a journalist and a parent — like thousands of other Connecticut parents I’ve got years of college loan payments for my kids ahead of me.
Interestingly, a McMahon spokeswoman this morning tells me her boss would buck the party and support Democratic efforts on keeping federal loan rates low. Through spokeswoman Erin Isaac, McMahon says:
They should stop with the silly games in Washington and pass a rate reduction extension. If that means voting for procedural motions to get it done, then yes, she would have voted for one – but tying a tax increase to a student loan rate extension can only be summed up in one word – STUPID.
The procedural vote Tuesday would have paid for keeping the loan rates low by, in effect, taxing the wealthy. Here’s what the Boston Globe wrote:
Democrats sought to pay for the student loan subsidies by closing a loophole that allows stockholders to avoid some Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes.
Republicans, however, want to use money from the health law’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, which provides services including screenings for breast and cervical cancer. Democrats accuse Republicans of trying to repeal the program.
A Murphy spokesman told me he would have supported the Democratic proposal. Chris Shays and Brian K. Hill didn’t get back to me.