After being beaten up badly by President Obama's unflinching campaign to keep interest rates on student loans low, Speaker John Boehner is half-caving. He's given up on the Republican idea that students are just bitching, and says the House will vote on a bill to keep the rates at current level. But, he says, the House version will take the money out of the Affordable Care Act. Here's the Speaker, in his own words:
Today I’m pleased to announce that on Friday the House will vote on a bill to extend the current interest rate on federal student loans for one year. We will pay for this by taking money from one of the slush funds in the president’s health care law.The Wall Street Journal points out that said "slush fund" happens to be the pot of money in the ACA dedicated to public health and prevention. Be that as it may, the Speaker's "pay-for" has got a problem. You see, the current rates are set to expire on July 1, and so any Congressional mandate to keep the rates at that level will also take effect on July 1, after the Supreme Court is expected to have ruled on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
If the Supreme Court rules the entire law unconstitutional, all the funds in it - slush or otherwise - go away. How do you pay for something using a fund that you and your party is telling everyone will be out of existence by the time you need it? If you want to pay for a program by taking away from the ACA on July 1, inherent in it is the assumption that ACA will be in effect on July 1, implicitly meaning that John Boehner expects the Supreme Court to uphold it. Oops.