For their part, House Repubs seemed all too pleased with an opportunity to needle Obama for failing to lead and the Senate for not passing their measure and allowing subsidized Stafford rates to double. (The House bill would limit this year's increase to below 5 percent and cap rates at 8.5 percent if interest rates rise.) House Speaker John Boehner gamely proclaimed, "The White House and Senate Democrats have let these students down."
On Wednesday, Reid tried to ram through a bill to prevent the rate increase for yet another year. Even as he hectored Boehner for blocking the passage of bipartisan measures on such issues as immigration, Reid would not allow a Senate floor vote on a bipartisan measure by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Angus King, an independent from Maine who caucuses with Democrats, and Richard Burr, R-N.C. It took guts for these three senators to oppose Reid and Washington's usual game of pandering and deficit spending -- and never fixing a problem.
After Manchin and King joined a GOP filibuster Wednesday, Reid's pet bill failed.
The rate for new loans is 6.8 percent. That's not a bad thing, but there was a better way to solve the problem. Obama suggested it himself. Tie interest rates to the market; let the increase be more gradual. Because House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House cared more about blaming the other guys for doubling loans, it didn't happen.
To Washington's elected class, taxpayers and students are just two hockey pucks in an endless, netless game of gotcha.