Barack Obama signed into law a measure restoring lower interest rates for student loans, pledging the hard-fought compromise would be just the first step in a broader. “Feels good signing bills. I haven’t done this in a while,” Obama said, alluding to the difficulty he’s faced getting Congress, particularly the Republican-controlled House, to approve his legislative priorities, such as gun control and budget deals.
The rare compromise emerged only after a frenzy of summer negotiations, with lawmakers at odds over how loan rates should be set in the future even while they agreed that a doubling of rates — it kicked in July 1 when Congress failed to act before the deadline — would be bad policy and bad news for students.
Encircled by lawmakers from both parties in the Oval Office, Obama praised Democrats and Republicans alike for agreeing — finally — on what he called a sensible, reasonable approach to student loans even as he cautioned that “our job is not done.” Obama cast the student loan deal as just the first of many measures the U.S. needs to make college affordable as a higher-tech economy makes advanced training and education a necessity for many workers.