WASHINGTON — Senate aides from both parties say a deal is near to avert a doubling of student loan interest rates on July 1.
If finalized and approved by Congress next week, the agreement would end an election-year battle. President Obama is trying to cast Republicans as less sympathetic to the huge debts that burden many college students.
GOP leaders, including presumed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, have backed the effort to extend the 3.4 percent interest rate on Stafford subsidized loans for undergraduates. The dispute has been over how to pay the $6 billion price tag.
Officials say the money seems likely to come from charging companies more to insure pensions, limiting tax deductions firms take for pension contributions, and limiting undergraduates’ federal loan subsidies to six years.
Caroline Kennedy to back Obama in New Hampshire
Caroline Kennedy will campaign in New Hampshire for President Obama next week, including a stop on Wednesday afternoon at Nashua City Hall, where her father John F. Kennedy gave the first official speech of his 1960 campaign.
Later Wednesday, she will reach out to voters in Manchester, the state’s largest city. On Thursday, she will travel to Meredith, a small town on Lake Winnipesaukee, as the president’s campaign appeals for support in a swing state whose four electoral votes could prove critical in November.
Court dismisses Vermont campaign finance challenge
MONTPELIER — A federal judge has ruled that Vermont can impose contribution limits on a political action committee, dismissing a constitutional challenge to provisions of Vermont’s campaign finance laws.
The Vermont Right to Life Committee had filed a lawsuit saying the state’s campaign finance registration, reporting, and disclosure requirements for political action committees were too broad and unconstitutional. And a subcommittee created by the committee, called the Vermont Right to Life Committee-Fund for Independent Political Expenditures, argued that it should not be subject to Vermont’s $2,000 limit on contributions to PACs because it said it did not give money directly to candidates and makes only independent expenditures.
But US District Court Judge William Sessions rejected the arguments on Thursday, saying there was no clear accounting between the Fund for Independent Political Expenditures and the Vermont Right to Life Committee Inc. Political Committee, which makes direct contributions to antiabortion candidates. Therefore, Vermont is permitted to impose a $2,000 limit on contributions the fund may accept from individual sources, he said.
Obama refers to Romney as an ‘outsourcing pioneer’
TAMPA — President Obama sought to discredit rival Mitt Romney’s business background Friday, pointing to investments by Romney’s former private equity firm in companies that moved jobs to low-wage countries. ‘‘We don’t need an outsourcing pioneer in the Oval Office,’’ Obama said.
Obama seized on a report about investments by Romney’s firm, Boston-based Bain Capital, in companies that were described as ‘‘pioneers’’ in outsourcing jobs to China and India.
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said the story in the Washington Post did not differentiate between ‘‘domestic outsourcing’’ and ‘‘offshoring’’ and didn’t take into account work done overseas to support US exports.