Republicans ignored a veto threat and overcame a rebellion by party conservatives to push a bill through the House Friday keeping interest rates on millions of federal student loans from doubling this summer.
Lawmakers voted 215-195 to approve a bill that has become an election-year battle between the two parties over helping families in a persistently ailing economy. The measure sparked debate over women’s health issues, too.
The White House and most Democrats opposed the $5.9 billion bill because of how Republicans covered the costs: eliminating a preventive health care fund in President Barack Obama’s health care law. They say the program mostly benefits women, while Republicans call it a loosely controlled slush fund.
“This is a politically motivated proposal and not the serious response that the problem facing America’s college students deserves,” the White House wrote in a veto message shortly before the House vote.
Democrats accused Republicans of supporting the effort to keep student loan interest rates low only because of political pressure from Obama.