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With just nine days left until student loan rates are set to double, editorial boards are calling on Senate Democrats to pass a solution based on the common ground, market-based approach shared by the president and House Republicans.  Here’s a look:

  • “Pegging Interest to a Market Rate … Would Prevent What Has Become a Frustrating Annual Standoff” “The first priority should go to taking control of rates out of the hands of Congress. Pegging interest to a market rate…as President Obama and House Republicans have proposed — would prevent what has become a frustrating annual standoff. Students need more certainty. Only a market-based rate will provide that assurance — and a long-term solution to a complex debate.” (The Boston Globe, 6/21/13)
  • “There’s No Reason Not to Enact a Long-Term Solution on Interest Rates Now” “Republicans are backing a long-term solution that’s similar to one President Obama proposed in his latest budget. … As much as Congress needs to address the bigger picture, there’s no reason not to enact a long-term solution on interest rates now. … [A]s the administration acknowledged earlier this year, tying interest rates to the federal government’s low cost of borrowing is the right way to go. The Senate should pass its own version of the president’s proposal, then work out the differences with the House without delay.” (Los Angeles Times, 6/21/13)
  • “Interest Rates Should Not Be Subject to Political Gamesmanship & Brinkmanship Every Time They Are About to Rise” “Interest rates should not be subject to political gamesmanship and brinkmanship every time they are about to rise. … The existing system features a bewildering assortment of interest rates on loans, all of which are set by Washington and not by markets. Both Obama and the House Republicans wisely call for letting the rates on all types of loans float…[t]o protect taxpayers, there are good reasons to tie interest rates to market conditions, rather than congressional whims.” (USA Today, 6/20/13)

Yesterday, Speaker Boehner sent a letter to the White House urging President Obama to call on his Democratic-led Senate to pass a plan to stop student loan rates from doubling, noting that “Senate Democrats’ unwillingness to follow” the president’s lead in advancing a market-based approach “is the only thing standing in the way of a long-term solution for students.”  That’s because Senate Democrats have chosen to play political games with the issue, landing themselves in “a bit of a pickle“ by picking a fake fight where one does not exist and deliberately allowing rates to double – a strategy that’s “backfiring“ on them as “interest rates for millions of students are set to double.”

As Speaker Boehner said yesterday, “The time for games is up.”  It is up to President Obama to lead and call on Senate Democrats to pass a plan in line with what he put forth in his own budget, and what House Republicans have already passed.  The House has done its job, says Speaker Boehner, “It’s time for the president and his party to do their job.”