Obama, in Arlington, pushes for lower college loan interest rates

Obama pushes for lower college loan interest rates. (Scott Thuman)

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - President Barack Obama says college students shouldn't have to pay higher interest rates on their loans just because Congress can't get its act together.

Obama spoke to students and parents at a Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, a general election battleground state. He called on Congress to keep interest rates on subsidized student loans at 3.4 percent for another year.

Republicans want to pay for the freeze on interest rates with a health care spending cut, but Obama says they are targeting coverage for women. The president says there shouldn't be a choice between women's health care or student loan costs.

Democrats want to pay for the loan freeze by raising tax revenue. The Democratic-controlled Senate is scheduled to vote on the issue Tuesday.

On the economy, Obama says the economy keeps creating jobs, but with many still out of work, "we've got to do more."

The April jobs report out Friday shows a second straight month of sluggish growth, with the economy adding 115,000 jobs, fewer than expected.

The pace of job growth is down significantly from earlier this year.

Obama did not mention that. He focused instead on the overall numbers, saying business have created more than 1 million jobs in the past six months alone.

The president commented at a high school outside Washington, where he was promoting a bid to freeze interest rates on federal student loans.

The jobless rate was 8.1 percent last month, a drop from 8.2 percent in March as people stopped looking for work.