Pelosi Says GOP Plan on Student Loan Rate 'Assault on Women's Health'

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi railed against Republican efforts to offset the one-year extension of the 3.4 percent student loan rate by taking money out of a fund she believes is imperative to the "survival to women."

Pelosi told reporters that she is whipping her caucus to oppose the GOP's proposal.

"We will not support a bill that robs Peter to pay Paul, which ostensibly supports a middle-class initiative while making those very same people pay for it," Pelosi, D-Calif., said today during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill. "In order to pay for it, [House Republicans] are going to make an assault on women's health, make another assault on women's health, continue our assault on women's health and pay for this with prevention initiatives that are in effect right now for childhood immunization; for screening for breast cancer, for cervical cancer; and for initiatives to reduce birth defects - a large part of what the Center for Disease Control does in terms of prevention."

The Democratic leader said the funding that Republicans hope to use to pay for the extension, which will come up for a vote in the House on Friday, is integral to the "survival to women." House Speaker John Boehner has labeled the same prevention fund a "slush fund."

"Well, it may be a slush fund to him, but it's survival to women," Pelosi said. "It's survival to women.  And that just goes to show you what a luxury he thinks it is to have good health for women.  We do not agree."

Pelosi called on Congress to "authorize and strengthen" the Violence Against Women Act, which the Senate is expected to vote on later today, and she expressed her hope that the House bill will eventually "look very much like the Senate bill."

Pelosi described the recent Secret Service scandal in Colombia as "disgusting" and did not answer a question about whether Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan should resign amid allegations against his agency.

"I have great respect for Mark Sullivan as the director of the Secret Service.  He is a patriotic American committed to the protection of our president and those in the executive branch.  And it's hard - his reputation is such that it's hard to connect him with any culture of this kind," she said.  "But nonetheless, an investigation has to take place because, first of all, whatever the agency of government this might be taking place in - is disgusting.  The fact that it would cast some doubt on, shall we say, the full attention that people are supposed to be paying to the protection of our president makes it even more worrisome."