Biden vetoes GOP bill to block student loan forgiveness plan

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Wednesday vetoed GOP-sponsored legislation that sought to block his administration’s plan to provide debt relief for people who took out federal student loans.

“Congressional Republicans led an effort to pass a bill blocking my administration’s plan to provide up to $20,000 in student debt relief to working and middle-class Americans. I will not back down. not to help hard-working people. That’s why I’m vetoing this bill,” Biden twetaccompanied by a video explaining his decision.

Biden suggested that some Republicans who supported the measure were hypocritical because they had received loans for their small businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The demand for this assistance is undeniable,” Biden said in a message released by the White House. “In less than four weeks – during the time the application for student debt relief was available – 26 million people applied for or were found automatically eligible for relief. At least 16 million of those borrowers would have already been able to receive debt relief if there had not been unmerited claims filed by opponents of this program.”

The Senate voted last week, largely along party lines, in favor of the legislation. It went 52-46, with a few moderate senators — Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana and independent Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — voting with Republicans.

Only a simple majority of senators was needed to pass the legislation and send it to Biden’s office. The House passed the measure in May 218-203, also largely along party lines, with two Democrats — Jared Golden of Maine and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington — joining the Republicans.

The resolution would have repealed the administration’s program to forgive up to $10,000 in loans for borrowers with incomes below certain levels and up to $20,000 for those who received Pell Grants. It would also have ended a pandemic-era pause on loan repayments and accrued interest.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court, with its conservative majority, is expected to rule on two cases involving Biden’s debt relief plan this month. The program has been stalled since the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay in October.

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