Grimes criticizes McConnell for blocking student loan bill; he deems bill a political ploy by Democrats

syoungman@herald-leader.comJune 11, 2014 

Mitch McConnell spoke where Bill Clinton and Alison Grimes will be Tuesday.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's vote Wednesday to block legislation aimed at easing student loan interest rates is proof that McConnell "just does not get it," Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes said.

"Sen. McConnell's blatant disregard for the hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians crushed by student loan debt is deeply disconcerting," Grimes said in a statement provided by her campaign. "This vote against our middle-class families underscores the fact that my opponent has been in Washington for far too long and just does not get it."

McConnell, who led 38 Senate Republicans in voting against a procedural motion that would have allowed a final vote on the bill, has said repeatedly he did not think the legislation should be considered until the Senate has addressed a proposal aimed at reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"Veterans have been made to wait long enough," McConnell said in his remarks on the Senate floor. "Senate Democrats shouldn't be keeping them in the waiting room even longer."

Grimes called on the Senate to approve both measures.

"Kentucky students and veterans deserve a champion who will fight for them in the U.S. Senate — not stand idly by and ignore the needs of real people," Grimes said.

McConnell argued in his remarks that the student loan bill was a political ploy by national Democrats to appear sympathetic to voters, accusing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and national Democrats of pushing a vote they knew would lose for political purposes.

McConnell said he has repeatedly called on Reid to "press pause on his party's nonstop campaign so we can take up bipartisan legislation for a change."

"Now I know the majority leader and his Senate Democrats would rather stick to their campaign playbook. We know they'd rather talk about a bill they claim is about student loans," McConnell said. "But the Senate Democrats' bill isn't really about students at all. It's really all about Senate Democrats."

Sam Youngman: (502) 875-3793. Twitter: @samyoungman. Blog:

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