More Obama lawlessness: using executive action to unilaterally rewrite student loan legislation
. . . The dual strategy — taking executive action while urging Congress to finish the job — has become Obama’s signature playbook this year. Stymied by gridlock as Congress marches toward the midterm elections, he has repeatedly sought ways to go around Congress with modest steps.
Under an income-based repayment plan created by Congress, the maximum monthly payment is already set to drop from 15 percent of income to 10 percent in July 2014. But that plan only affects new borrowers. Obama’s ‘‘Pay as You Earn’’ plan uses another part of existing law to offer similar benefits to people who already borrowed to finance their education.
In previous Obama budgets, the White House has predicted that making the plan retroactive would cost the federal government billions of dollars in the early years. Asked about the costs Monday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the administration won’t know how much it will cost until they go through the rule-making process to put the expansion in place.
‘‘We actually don’t know the costs yet,’’ Duncan said. ‘‘We'll figure that out on the back end.’’
Republican leaders in Congress have faulted Obama’s steps on loan repayments for failing to address the root cause: college costs that are too high. . . .