Republicans say they killed the bill that would lower interest on existing student loans because it does nothing to cure cancer … er, it does nothing to lower college costs and therefore reduce borrowing. Or cure cancer.

Republicans said the bill wouldn’t have done anything to lower education costs or reduce borrowing, and they accused Democrats of playing politics by highlighting an issue that was bound to fail.

— Senate Republicans block student loan bill, Erica Werner, Associated Press, today

The bill, written and sponsored by Elizabeth Warren, would allowed borrowers, including those with “years-old debt and interest rates topping 7 percent or more, refinance at today’s lower rates,” the AP article specifies, and “would have been paid for with the so-called Buffett Rule, which sets minimum tax rates for people making over $1 million.”  The vote was 56-38.

Should the Republicans actually be interested in doing something to lower higher-education costs and consequently reduce borrowing, they might consider reinstating substantial federal financial assistance to states in order to help the states once again fund their state universities and colleges at, say, the pre-Bush-tax-cuts-era levels, so that these universities and colleges weren’t being funded mostly by tuition.

And should Republicans actually acknowledge that current high levels of student debt–debt already incurred, which was the subject of that bill–won’t recede even if college and university attendance suddenly were made free of charge, and concede that the high level of current debt is itself a problem, they will stop claiming that you shouldn’t try to help students and former students who are deeply in debt unless you also fix an unrelated problem, or even also fix a problem that is related but not in a way that matters to the proposed fix.

So the current Republican excuse for refusing to tackle any actual problem is that any fix wouldn’t affect every problem we have. The problem for the Republicans that this tactic won’t fix is that the many millions of people directly affected by the particular problem recognize the Republicans’ non sequitur for what it is.  And so do most other people.


This is another in my series of posts on the Republicans’ steady diet of cliches and nonsensical slogans as their campaign modus operandi.