Republicans have been piling on President Joe Biden on Wednesday after he signaled an openness to canceling a substantial amount of the $ 1.6 trillion federal student loan debt held in the United States.
GOP lawmakers on the House Education and Labor Committee pointed out that 65 percent of Americans do not have a college degree, writing on Twitter: ‘Most Americans see the stupidity of mass student loan forgiveness — why can’t the Biden administration?’
And a group of Republican senators are introducing a bill that would ban the president from mass student loan forgiveness.
They’re being led by Senate Minority Whip John Thune (RS.D.). The bill is also aiming to limit student loan moratoriums after Biden recently extended the relief measure again until August 31.
‘Taxpayers and working families should not be responsible for continuing to bear the costs associated with this suspension of repayment,’ Thune told Fox in a statement.
Biden alluded to his plan during a meeting on Monday with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, where he told Rep. Tony Cardenas, a California Democrat, that he had plans that would please the group.
The move would be a much-needed policy accomplishment for Democrats heading into November’s midterm elections, at a time when the president’s low approval rating could anchor their chances of keeping control of Congress.
But Republicans have argued that sweeping student debt forgiveness could put an undue burden on US taxpayers.
Republican officials and lawmakers have been piling on Biden for much of Wednesday over its openness to considering student loan debt forgiveness
Senator Tom Cotton (left) and Rep. Jim Jordan (right), two of Biden’s most vocal critics, were among those criticizing the plan as ‘stupid’ and a burden on taxpayers
‘Why should a trucker who didn’t go to college have to pay off a lawyer’s student loan debt? Because that is what Biden is proposing when he says he will “forgive” student loan debt, ‘Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) Said.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) simply declared: ‘Canceling student loan debt is stupid.’
And Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) shared concerns about what such a large financial move would do to inflation, which rose 8.5 percent in March.
‘If President Biden cancels student loan debt, inflation will explode,’ Cruz wrote on Twitter.
The US’s estimated $ 1.6 trillion student loan debt is shared among some 43 million borrowers.
Forgiving the entire sum would cost more than the government has spent on unemployment insurance, food stamps and supplemental social security income, respectively, over the last 20 years.
Taxpayers Protection Alliance President David Williams told DailyMail.com that Biden was placing an undue burden on taxpayers in order to ‘buy votes.’
‘Canceling all student debt will be costly and bail out higher income earners at the expense of lower income people who chose not to go to college,’ Williams said, pointing out that higher-income earners hold the majority of student debt.
‘This bailout will make inflation worse and continue to drive up the cost of college … This seems like a desperate attempt by the Biden Administration to buy votes.’
Meanwhile progressives have been pushing Biden for more than a year to take action on student loan debt (pictured: Bernie Sanders at a Student Loan Forgiveness Rally on April 27)
Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) joins activists in a demonstration outside an entrance to the White House calling for the cancellation of student debt on Thursday
He added that colleges and universities ‘must be held at least partially responsible’ for the sky-high debts.
The president previously supported canceling up to $ 10,000 of debt per student, but is now said to be open to forgiving a larger, unspecified amount.
It also remains unclear exactly how many students could be affected, although Biden has indicated that he’d be willing to forgive debts owed to public and private colleges.
Biden made the pledge as he faces tanking approval ratings with just months to go until the midterm elections that political pundits predict will see heavy losses for his Democrat party.
It will likely appeal to younger, left-leaning voters, but has angered conservative critics who say the move smacks of nannying, and that the inflation-hammered US can ill-afford it.
Cardenas told CBS that the president provided no specifics but simply ‘smiled and said,’ You’re going to like what I do on that, I’m looking to do something on that and I think you’re going to like what I do . ‘
Activists demonstrate outside an entrance to the White House
President Joe Biden says he was thinking about forgiving federal student loan debt but failed to provide specifics despite his campaign pledge to forgive $ 10,000 per student
US Rep. Tony Cardenas, (third from the left), said the president suggested a plan to cancel some debt for the 43 million students holding $ 1.6 trillion in loans in a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (pictured) on Monday.
‘The president never mentioned an amount nor did the president say that he was going to wipe out all student debt,’ Cardenas said. ‘He did a dialogue with us about the differential between young people who went to public schools or private schools and we CHC members said he should focus on both.
‘And he said,’ Okay, good to know. ”
On Monday, the White House said it did not yet have any plans on how canceling student debt would work, but Press Secretary Jen Psaki reiterated that the administration will ultimately announce a decision about canceling ‘some student loan debt’ between now and the end of August.
The August deadline stems from the administration’s decision earlier this month to extend the pandemic-era pause on federal student loan payments through August 31, saving borrowers $ 5 billion in interest payments a month, according to the US Department of Education.
While the president has yet to specify how much student debt he would be canceling, some Democrats have called on him to use executive action to cancel at $ 50,000 in debt per borrower, with Squad members Alexandria Ocasico-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley urging Biden to cancel all student debt.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, criticized the Biden’s administration’s decision to extend the moratorium on student loan payments, saying that it was just a stall tactic that leaves young people uneasy.
‘I think some folks read these extensions as savvy politics, but I don’t think those folks understand the panic and disorder it causes people to get so close to these deadlines just to extend the uncertainty,’ the Democrat firebrand said on Twitter.
‘It doesn’t have the affect people think it does. We should cancel them. ‘
Ocasio-Cortez claims the president’s student loan extension actually harms borrowers by extending their period of uncertainty
Pressley also chimed in on Tuesday, highlighting the impact that student loan payment moratoriums have on black women
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York estimated that calling off $ 50,000 in debt per student would help nearly 30 million borrowers and cost about $ 904 billion, CBS reported.
The average student would lose about $ 23,800 in debt.
Last week, the Education Department said its latest reforms on student loans will wipe out debts for 40,000 such borrowers and bring 3.6 million Americans closer to ending their payments.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona called the current system a ‘life sentence’ for millions of low-income borrowers and pledged to correct ‘historical failures’ that have plagued repayment schemes like the income-driven repayment program (IDR) and Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program ( PSLF).
Borrowers working as public servants are eligible for forgiveness under PSLF once they’ve made 10 years of qualifying payments.
Additionally, ‘several thousand borrowers’ in the government IDR program will also have their student debt forgiven, and more than 3.6 million people are going to get at least three years of credit toward IDR forgiveness.