Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan Under Attack, Debt Relief for Millions at Risk
President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan ran into another potential roadblock this week after the U.S. House voted to pass a resolution that would block the plan from being implemented and also end the pause on student loan repayments.
Whether the resolution makes it into law is another story. Biden has pledged to veto it if it passes in both the House and Senate, CNN reported. But the fact that it might hit his desk at all underscores just how deeply divided lawmakers are on the merits of loan forgiveness.
As GOBankingRates previously reported, Senate Republicans in late March introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the forgiveness plan. The CRA would also end the pause on student loan payments.
One advantage of using the CRA is that it lets Congress roll back regulations from the executive branch without having to clear the 60-vote threshold in the Senate needed for most legislation, CNN reported. As of May 24, the Senate had yet to schedule a vote on the resolution. However, nearly all Republican senators have signed on as sponsors.
Although the forgiveness plan has faced pushback almost from the moment it was unveiled last summer, White House officials have not backed down from their support of it. If implemented, it would cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.
“The president’s plan is a good one. It’s a popular one. And it will help prevent borrowers from default when loan payments restart this summer,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement on Wednesday.
Even if the House proposal is struck down, there’s no guarantee the forgiveness plan will ever see the light of day. It is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court, and many legal experts expect the conservative-leaning SCOTUS to strike the plan down on legal grounds.
Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers have made clear that they will do everything in their power to kill the plan if the Supreme Court doesn’t.
“President Biden’s so-called student loan forgiveness programs do not make the debt go away, but merely transfer the costs from student loan borrowers onto taxpayers to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars,” U.S. Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), said in a March statement.
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Their opposition doesn’t end with loan forgiveness. They also oppose any attempts to further extend the payment pause that went into effect in March 2020, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has since been extended eight times.
The latest extension is set to expire 60 days after either June 30, or whenever the Supreme Court decides on the loan forgiveness plan. Based on that deadline, payments are likely to resume sometime in late August 2023.
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