The Senate has advanced a measure to a final vote that would block President Joe Biden’s student debt cancellation program, following a vote taken on Wednesday.
The measure, H.J. Res. 45, would block the Biden-Harris Student Debt Relief Plan, which was announced in 2022 and proposed to cancel $10,000 in student debt held by the federal government, which would have affected 43 million borrowers. The bill was passed by the Republican-led House on May 24, with the GOP having broadly criticized the plan for being fiscally irresponsible, and for redistributing taxpayer money from non-college graduates to college graduates. (RELATED: Here’s How Much Biden’s Student Debt Forgiveness Could Cost Taxpayers)
The measure to advance the bill – allowing for debate ahead of a final vote on Thursday – passed the Democratic-led Senate by a vote of 51-46. Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana, along with independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who are all up for re-election in 2024, voted in favor of advancing the measure, which is not subject to a Senate filibuster per the Congressional Review Act.
Today House Republicans will pass a bill to retroactively charge student loan borrowers interest on their paused payments, repeal @POTUS‘ student loan debt relief plan, and claw back aid from public servants.
Cruelty is the point. pic.twitter.com/zyyO05e6tK
— James E. Clyburn (@RepJamesClyburn) May 24, 2023
“The President’s student loan forgiveness plan – fueled by politics and not reality – is unfair to hardworking Arizonans who have responsibly paid their student loans, creates false expectations, and undermines Arizona students’ economic certainty,” said Sinema in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation
By contrast, Democratic members of Congress in both chambers, led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, wrote in a joint letter to Biden in March that the plan “will provide critical relief to millions of families and help avert a sharp rise in delinquencies and defaults.” They added that “[t]oday in America, tens of millions of Americans are drowning in more than $1.6 trillion in student debt, leaving them less likely to become homeowners or save for retirement.”
If the Senate votes to pass the legislation, Biden has said he intends to veto, according to a statement. However, the plan is currently blocked from being implemented, pending litigation being resolved at the Supreme Court, in Biden v. Nebraska, where an oral argument was held on Feb. 28 and a verdict is expected this summer.
Prior to the announcement of Biden’s $10,000-per-borrower relief, Democrats in Congress, such as Schumer and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, had called on Biden to cancel up to $50,000-per-borrower, while independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont had called for eliminating the entire balance, $1.6 trillion, of student loan debt.
Biden’s program is estimated to cost $379 billion, according to the Department of Education, while other estimates suggest a cost as high as $1 trillion, according to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
The White House, Manchin and Tester did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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