2 Democratic senators vote with GOP to repeal Biden’s student loan relief plan

WASHINGTON — The Senate advanced a measure on Wednesday that would invalidate President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, even though he has vowed to veto it if he gets to his office.

Two Democratic senators from red states who are up for re-election next year have joined all Republicans in supporting the effort: Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I) also voted in favour.

Biden’s plan would forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt for borrowers earning less than $125,000 a year, providing relief to more than 40 million Americans. The Biden administration claimed authority to cancel loans under the HEROES Act of 2003 to provide debt relief during the national COVID-19 emergency.

The fate of the program will likely be decided by the conservative-dominated Supreme Court, which is expected to rule on a challenge next month. Opponents argued it was illegal and claimed it would unfairly burden US taxpayers.

The estimated cost of Biden’s plan is $500 billion, though he played it down by suggesting it could be offset by other deficit-cutting measures, including the Tax Reduction Act. inflation. Republicans say more borrowing could lead to even more inflation, hitting American wallets.

“The administration’s outrageous plan would transfer hundreds of billions of dollars in debt to doctors, lawyers and other well-paid professionals who chose to lay it on American taxpayers who wanted nothing to do with it,” he said. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday.

Democrats have criticized efforts to repeal Biden’s student loan relief program, saying it would deny needed relief to millions of student borrowers, not just those attending elite schools. And they noted that legislation advanced by the Senate on Wednesday would also undo Biden’s freeze on student loan payments that was originally suspended by President Donald Trump in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Let me say it again, it’s so important. This measure not only repeals the payment pause, but also forces many borrowers to make retroactive payments,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.).

Manchin has yet to announce whether he will run for re-election next year, but he has already attracted several high-profile challengers, including West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R), who is popular in the Red state.

In a statement released by his office after Wednesday’s vote, Manchin said “we simply cannot afford to add another $400 billion to the national debt.” He added that “there are already more than 50 student loan repayment and forgiveness programs aimed at attracting individuals to vital service jobs, such as teachers, healthcare workers and government officials.”

Tester’s office also released a statement explaining his vote, saying he “knows that students and young people in Montana continue to struggle with the high cost of student loans, but he does not support the administration’s order. Biden of making taxpayers pay while failing to fix the root causes of the ongoing problem.He thinks we urgently need to address the underlying challenges of college affordability, like curbing universities that are driving up tuition prices. students.

The Montana senator also hails from a state that voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2020, and Democrats will have to defend his seat if they are to retain their Senate majority next year.

The Senate is expected to vote on final passage of the GOP resolution to rescind Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan in the coming days. The White House said Biden would veto the measure if it reached his office.

“Nearly 90% of the aid provided by the Department of Education would go to Americans earning less than $75,000 a year, and none of the aid would go to an individual or household in the top 5%” , the White House said in a statement. . Americans should be able to breathe a little more as they recover from the economic strains associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. »


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