Senate Reverses Biden’s Program For Student Loan Relief

The Senate voted mainly along party lines on Thursday to oppose President Joe Biden’s student debt reduction scheme after it cleared a significant procedural barrier in the chamber.

The legislation was passed by a 52-46 vote a day after senators voted to proceed with the measure, which would terminate Biden’s debt reduction program and halt the administration’s freeze on federal student loan payments.

Several moderate senators, including Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana, and independent Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, voted with Republicans on the final passage vote and the move to take up the proposal.

Most senators were required to pass the bill and send it to Biden’s desk. However, the White House indicated in a Statement of Administration Policy last month that Biden would veto the resolution.

“This resolution is an unprecedented attempt to undermine our historic economic recovery and would deny much-needed student debt relief to more than 40 million hardworking Americans.”

Senate Reverses Biden's Program For Student Loan Relief

The House enacted the proposal last week by a vote of 218-203, primarily along party lines, with two Democrats, Jared Golden of Maine and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington, joining Republicans in support.

The resolution would revoke the administration’s scheme of canceling up to $10,000 in loans for borrowers with incomes below specific thresholds and up to $20,000 for those who earn Pell Grants. The resolution would also lift a moratorium on loan payments and interest accrual imposed during the outbreak.

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However, the biggest test for Biden’s student loan relief plan may still be ahead. The Supreme Court, with its conservative majority, is scheduled to rule this month on two lawsuits involving Biden’s debt relief proposal.

The debt ceiling legislation negotiated by Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. Passed the House on Wednesday and now goes to the Senate, would resume payments on federal student loans halted at the start of the crisis.

If the debt bill is approved, prices will begin at the end of August. Despite GOP-led efforts to incorporate a provision to do so, the debt measure would not prevent Biden from implementing his debt-forgiveness plan.

Republicans have claimed that the Biden administration’s student debt forgiveness program taxes taxpayers and is unfair to people who have paid off loans or did not attend college.

Nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, abolishing the program would reduce the federal deficit by $315 billion over the next decade.

In contrast, the Biden administration argued in a statement that the cost of higher education had become a “lifelong burden” on low- and middle-income Americans and that debt relief would provide borrowers with “breathing room” after the pandemic and accompanying economic crisis passed.

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