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Pelosi calls plan to gut public health fund another assault on women

April 26, 2012|By Lisa Mascaro
  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif. gestures during her weekly a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif. gestures during her weekly… (Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo )

WASHINGTON -- As the battle intensifies over keeping student loan interest rates low, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the Republican plan to gut a public health fund to pay for it “another assault on women’s health.”

Republicans want to eliminate what they call a “slush fund” established under the nation’s new healthcare law to pay for keeping student loan rates low, and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has proposed taking $6 billion from the fund to pay for the costs of avoiding a loan rate hike this summer.

“It may be a slush fund for him; it’s survival for women,” Pelosi said Thursday.

The standoff over the student loan program is heading toward another showdown in Congress, and Democrats want to link it to their ongoing accusations that Republicans are engaging in a war on women. Interest rates will double to 6.8% on July 1 if Congress fails to act, and President Obama has been crisscrossing the country to make the case for keeping rates low.

Under the Democratic proposal, the costs would be covered by taxing high-income earners who organize their very small businesses as so-called subchapter-S corporations, which allows them to avoid taxes on the bulk of their earnings.

The tax would hit those earning beyond $200,000 a year, or $250,000 for couples, on companies with three or fewer employees – usually professional corporations.

Republicans say a tax-hike is a nonstarter, as most of their members have signed an anti-tax pledge. They contend that Democrats had been willing to dip into the new public health fund in the past, as they did earlier this year during another standoff over continuing a payroll tax holiday when a compromise trimmed the funds to help cover the costs of extending unemployment benefits and preventing a pay cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients.

Twitter.com/LisaMascaroinDC

Original source: Pelosi calls plan to gut public health fund another assault on women

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