House rejects Joe Biden’s student debt relief but fails to override his veto on Chinese solar tariffs
The House on Wednesday passed Republican legislation rejecting President Biden’s student debt cancellation, while failing to override his veto of a bipartisan effort to reimpose tariffs on Chinese solar companies.
The votes marked the latest in a series of efforts, led mostly by Republicans, to roll back Mr. Biden’s regulatory agenda through favored bills under the Congressional Overhaul Act.
The chamber voted 218 to 203 to scuttle Mr. Biden’s loan cancellation plan, which is estimated to be worth more than $300 billion and to end the federal government’s pause on loan repayments, legislation that would , according to Republicans, is about fairness.
Representative Bob Good, Republican of Virginia, who authored the legislation, called the debt relief program “reckless, unfair, illegal, unconstitutional.”
“Cancelling the student loan doesn’t make the debt go away,” Mr Good said on the House floor. “It just shifts the costs out of the student loan and onto hard-working American taxpayers.”
Two Democrats defected to vote with Republicans. Mr Biden’s loan forgiveness is facing legal challenges, with the Supreme Court due to rule on the constitutionality of the relief in the coming months.
The measure now faces consideration in the Democratic-led Senate, where under the Congressional Review Act it usurps the 60-vote filibuster from the chamber and will only require a simple majority. If passed, Mr Biden has vowed to veto it.
The administration says the vast majority – nearly 90% – of the rebate would go to those earning less than $75,000 and that the Department of Education has constitutional authority.
“This resolution is an unprecedented attempt to undermine our historic economic recovery and would deny more than 40 million hard-working Americans much-needed student debt relief,” the Office of Management and White House budget in its veto threat. “The Department of Education’s action is based on decades-old authority granted by Congress.”
In a separate vote, the House failed to muster the two-thirds majority needed to override Mr. Biden’s veto of a bipartisan measure that would have slapped Chinese solar panel makers with tariffs frozen by the government. administration.
The vote was 214 to 205, with eight Democrats and eight Republicans crossing party lines.
The Commerce Department found last year that Chinese companies were smuggling signs into Southeast Asian countries to circumvent US trade laws. Yet Mr Biden waived tariffs on foreign players until the summer of 2024 in a decision that sided with clean energy advocates over fears that domestic solar projects could lose ground. access to a cheap foreign source of panels.
The goal, according to administration officials, is to allow domestic solar panel producers to catch up and benefit from clean energy tax credits passed by Congress last year.
Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan, the lead Democratic author of the legislation, said a tariff break is akin to “rewarding the worst behavior.”
“When companies explicitly try to evade our trade laws, to circumvent them, there is no other choice. We have to hold them accountable. And that is why Congress, with strong bipartisan votes in both the House and the Senate, acted on our legislation,” Mr. Kildee said on the floor. “The Biden administration’s Commerce Department investigation found that companies are evading U.S. tariffs on solar imports by circumventing these provisions. However, the administration suspended the execution of this case. This is not acceptable for the specific workers I represent.