This tweet from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) probably wasn't intended to be important, but it's an astonishing message.
Let's back up for a moment. At issue is a 2007 law, set to expire on July 1, which keeps the interest rate for federal Direct Stafford Loans at 3.4%. If Congress fails to act, the rate will double, affecting more than 7.4 million students, who'll face, on average, an additional $1,000 in debt. President Obama and congressional Democrats are fighting to keep the rates where they are, and Mitt Romney agrees with them.
Congressional Republicans have balked at the proposals, and today, Boehner is arguing that this is all Democrats' fault anyway -- they're the ones who "included an expiration provision that placed the looming increase in the middle of an election year."
Democrats wanted to lower student interest rates. Now, they want to keep the lower student interest rates. As far as Boehner is concerned, this means Dems "voted to double" interest rates.
Mr. Speaker, you really should have thought this one through a little more.
First, voting to cut interest rates in half is the opposite of voting to double interest rates. Second, when the law passed in 2007, it enjoyed strong bipartisan support. This wasn't a Democratic bill; it was a bipartisan effort to give students and their families a break.
And third, and arguably more important, is the fact the Bush tax cuts included an expiration provision that placed a looming tax increase in 2010 -- an election year. Thanks to a Republican plan, they were extended until 2012 -- another election year.
In other words, by Speaker Boehner's logic, taxes are set to go up for practically every American worker because Republicans voted for a massive tax increase.
Is there no one in Boehner's press office who considered this, or has logic been deemed altogether irrelevant?
Update: This apparently wasn't a fluke. Boehner's spokesperson said yesterday, "The rising cost of tuition is a serious problem for students and their families, so it's unfortunate that Washington Democrats put in place a law that would double student loan rates."
It would be every bit as accurate for me to say, "It's unfortunate that Washington Republicans put in place a law that would increase federal taxes by trillions of dollars over the next decade." If one is true, the other true.