The Obama administration threatened to veto the House Republican version of the extension of the student loan bill Friday, arguing that it cuts funding for preventive health services to offset the one year extension of the 3.4 percent student loan rate.
In a statement released Friday, the OMB said the GOP version of the bill includes "an attempt to repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund, created to help prevent disease, detect it early, and manage conditions before they become severe. Women, in particular, will benefit from this Prevention Fund, which would provide for hundreds of thousands of screenings for breast and cervical cancer. This is a politically-motivated proposal and not the serious response."
But House Speaker John Boehner's office countered the president's threat by saying President Obama already authorized trimming down the Prevention and Public Health Fund in his proposed FY2013 budget.
"The president is so desperate to fake a fight that he's willing to veto a bill to help students over a slush fund that he advocated cutting in his own budget. It's a simple as this: Republicans are acting to help college students and the president is now getting in the way," Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Boehner, said.
The president's proposed FY2013 budget includes gradual reductions in the Prevention and Public Health fund amounting to over $4 million in the span of ten years beginning in 2014.
White House spokesman Nick Papas conceded it is true that the President is proposing "targeted reductions" to the fund but argued that "reducing it and gutting it completely are two very different things."
The House is expected to vote on the student loan rate extension on Friday.