Obama: Time for House GOP to do its part on student loans, transportation

  • (CBS News) President Obama in his weekly address Saturday chided House Republicans for allowing electoral politics to stall passage of a transportation bill and student loan rate extension, both of which have deadlines looming next week.

    "It's not lost on any of us that this is an election year - but we've got responsibilities that are bigger than an election," Mr. Obama said, citing elements of his American Jobs Act that have not been passed.

    He urged Congress to break through the partisan gridlock stalling a resolution that would keep student loan rates from doubling on July 1, and also warned, "We are seven days away from thousands of American workers having to walk off the job because Congress hasn't passed a transportation bill."

    The president said his administration and the Democrat-controlled Senate are "doing their part," thanking Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for issuing $500 million in competitive state grants that will create construction jobs, and praising the Senate's passage of a bipartisan transportation bill in March.

    "Now," Mr. Obama said, "it's up to the House to follow suit."

    Keeping to the message of job creation, the president also stressed the importance of minimizing student loan interest rates, since "the unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree or more is about half the national average," he said.

    But delivering the GOP's weekly address, Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., a doctor, argued that another hot-button piece of legislation - the president's health care reform law, the fate of which will rest in the hands of the Supreme Court next week - "continues to hurt job creation and damage our economy.

    "Not only is President Obama's health care law not working," Cassidy continued, "it makes things worse by driving up health care costs, making it harder for small businesses to hire workers. The only way to change this is by repealing 'Obamacare' entirely."

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    Lindsey Boerma is senior video producer for CBSNews.com.

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