June 21st, 2012
04:46 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) - With time running out for Congress to prevent a doubling of interest rates on federal student loans, the White House and Republican leaders exchanged accusations Thursday on who was to blame for the lack of an agreement.
President Barack Obama chided Republicans for holding up a deal with unreasonable demands, and he urged college students to continue raising their voices on the issue.
However, spokesmen for Republican leaders in the House and Senate denied an assertion by press secretary Jay Carney that the White House has been working with them to try to reach a deal.
Asked about GOP complaints that the White House has not reached out to Republicans on the issue in recent days, Carney said that "we are actively working with members of Congress to get this done," adding, "in both parties."
Spokesmen for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, disputed Carney's account.
On the Senate floor, McConnell accused Obama and Democrats of playing political games on the issue.
"It is the Democrat-led Senate that has failed to act and the president who has failed to contribute to a solution, and the reason is obvious," McConnell said. "It was reported yesterday that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching a website with a student loan countdown clock aimed at raising money off this issue. The implication is that Republicans are the ones dragging their feet. "