President Joe Biden has signaled for months that he is nearing a decision on student debt relief for millions of borrowers through loan forgiveness. Republican lawmakers, however, have indicated that oppose the move and are readying to halt his efforts.
Speaking on Wednesday at a roundtable entitled “The Perils of President Biden’s Student Debt Forgiveness Plan,” Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, slammed Biden’s purported plan to forgive up to $10,000 in student debt through executive action as a “desperate pre-election attempt to change the polls.”
The congressman, who serves as the Republican ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee, described any action of this type as insufficient to bringing down costs of higher education or stimulating the economy.
“Pursuing mass student loan forgiveness ignores the very problems most Americans are facing in what is proving to be a very cruel economy under the [resident,” said Brady in his remarks.
“Biden’s student loan giveaway will do nothing to solve and make college more affordable. It will only further incentivize future debt,” he added.
Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., questioned the legal grounds for any executive action to forgive student loan debts, describing the route as “incredibly shaky.” He accused the administration of risking incentivizing students to take on more debt by creating “the expectation that debt will not have to be repaid in the future.”
The recent broadsides against any loan forgiveness come amid Biden’s low public approval ratings and as Republicans seek gains in the midterm election.
As a candidate, Biden had promised some form of student debt relief but has shown some reluctance while in office. Echoing the criticism of the move, Biden has argued in the past that debt relief would be to the benefit of wealthier students at elite institutions than working-class Americans.
The reasoning has been disputed by some experts, given that a small percentage of students at elite colleges and universities make up the total body of federal student loan borrowers.
Democrats, who have clashed with Biden over his reluctance to take action to address mounting student debt, have continued to press him for action. High-ranking Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., have urged Biden to go bigger by forgiving up to $50,000 or erasing it altogether.
Meanwhile, other Democratic-leaning groups and activists have admonished Biden for what they see as his foot-dragging on the issue.