Republicans almost uniformly condemned President Joe Biden’s decision to cancel some student debt while extending the moratorium on federal loan collection through the end of 2022.
Biden’s plan includes $10,000 of debt relief for individuals making less than $125,000 or families making less than $250,000. It cancels an additional $10,000 for individuals who received Pell Grants, need-based subsidies for low-income college applicants. Although the White House claims that no Americans in the top 5% of earners will benefit from the action, most economists nevertheless agree that student debt relief disproportionately benefits middle- and upper-class Americans, particularly those with graduate degrees.
“This is Biden’s bailout for the wealthy. As hardworking Americans struggle with soaring costs and a recession, Biden is giving a handout to the rich. Biden’s bailout unfairly punishes Americans who saved for college or made a different career choice, and voters see right through this short-sighted, poorly veiled vote-buy,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.
Beneficiaries of the cancelation could include White House and congressional staffers, and in some cases elected officials themselves. Members of Congress make $174,000 a year, meaning they could qualify for forgiveness if their spouses make less than $76,000 a year. At least thirteen House Democrats who support loan forgiveness reported student debts of at least $15,000 in 2020 and 2021. (RELATED: House GOP Demands Investigation Into Biden Staffers Who Could Benefit From Student Loan Forgiveness)
“President Biden’s student loan bailout is unfair to hardworking Americans who do not hold a college degree or who made tough financial decisions to pay for their college education. This bailout also raises ethical concerns about Biden Administration officials with student loans who have worked on this policy and stand to benefit financially,” House Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer said in a statement.
“President Biden didn’t ‘forgive student debt,’ he chose to shift the burden of the well-off onto the backs of the 87 percent of Americans who chose to not go to college, already paid off their loans, or saved to not take them out in the first place,” Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy said in a statement, describing the move as “spit[ting] in the face” of his constituents.
President Biden didn’t “forgive student debt,” he chose to shift the burden of the well-off onto the backs of the 87 percent of Americans who chose to not go to college, already paid off their loans, or saved to not take them out in the first place.
— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (@SenBillCassidy) August 24, 2022
The debt cancelation will cost taxpayers up to $329 billion over a ten-year period, according to an analysis from the Penn Wharton Budget Model, wiping out the $300 billion in deficit reduction associated with the Inflation Reduction Act.
“Forgiving student loan debt isn’t free. It means the 85 percent of Americans with no undergraduate debt from college will be carrying the burden for those that do. That is not a relief, it is an unfair burden to place on working families,” Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said in a statement.