GOP senators introduce measure to reverse Biden’s student debt cancellation plan
WASHINGTON — A group of Republican senators on Monday unveiled a proposal to reverse President Joe Biden’s executive branch decision last year to forgive federal student loan debt.
The move escalates a political war over an issue that has divided the two parties and played out in the 2022 midterm elections.
The two-page resolution was spearheaded by Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, a ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, alongside Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Joni Ernst of Iowa, and 35 GOP co-sponsors, an advisory said.
“Where is the relief for the man who skipped college but is paying off his work truck, or the woman who has paid off her loans and is now struggling to pay her mortgage?” said Cassidy. “This resolution prevents those Americans, whose debts look different from the privileged group the Biden administration has selected, from footing the bill for this irresponsible and unfair policy.”
The proposal was subject to the Congressional Review Act, which creates an expedited process for Congress to override rules issued by federal agencies within a certain time frame. It is not subject to Senate filibuster and can be passed by a simple majority.
Republicans have a slim majority in the House while Democrats hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate. But if the measure passes, Biden could veto it, forcing Congress to find two-thirds to replace him.
Biden’s executive action — which is backed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and other Democrats — would allow up to $10,000 in student debt forgiveness for federal borrowers earning less than $125,000 of individual income (or couples who file taxes jointly and earn less than $250,000 per year) and up to $20,000 for those receiving Pell Grants. The proposal is expected to cost $400 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
“Republicans are showing us how callous and indifferent they can be to families trying to make ends meet,” Schumer said. tweeted last week in anticipation of this resolution. “We will continue to fight this cruel Republican attempt to end student debt relief with everything we have.”
Biden’s student debt plan divided voters in the 2022 election, with 50% approval and 47% disapproval, according to NBC News’ exit polls of national races. The plan is also the subject of a challenge in the Supreme Court.
Liz Brown Kaiser contributed.