Three Republican senators are moving to overturn President Biden’s “gambit” to have taxpayers forgive around $400 billion in student loans, as the Supreme Court’s conservative majority still weighs a separate ruling on the debt cancellation.
GOP Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, John Cornyn of Texas and Joni Ernst of Iowa announced Friday that they plan to introduce a resolution to thwart Biden’s plan, which would cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt per person for tens of millions of borrowers.
“This would block President Biden’s political gambit from driving up inflation, incentivizing universities to raise tuition, and forcing hardworking Texans to pay off the debts of wealthy graduates,” said Cornyn, who sits on the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
“The Biden administration’s tuition bailout is bad public policy, and it’s unfair to people who’ve paid their college debt off by working multiple jobs or consciously meeting their obligations.”
The move follows a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report also released Friday, which found Congress has the authority to overturn the loan forgiveness plan.
“President Biden’s student loan scheme does not ‘forgive’ debt, it just transfers the burden from those who willingly took out loans to those who never went to college, or sacrificed to pay their loans off,” said Cassidy, who is the ranking member of the Senate HELP Committee.
“Where is the relief for the man who skipped college but is paying off his work truck, or the woman who paid off her loans and is now struggling to afford her mortgage? This resolution prevents these Americans, whose debts look different from the favored group the Biden administration has selected, from picking up the bill for this irresponsible and unfair policy.”
Biden’s loan forgiveness policy would cost taxpayers $400 billion over the next three decades, the Congressional Budget Office determined last year.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in February for two cases — Biden v. Nebraska and Department of Education v. Brown — that would also settle the fate of the controversial education policy.
The Court’s conservative majority expressed skepticism in those cases that Biden could wipe away the billions of dollars in federal student debt.
“We take very seriously the idea of separation of powers and that power should be divided to prevent its abuse,” Chief Justice John Roberts told Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, who argued on behalf of the Biden administration.
Roberts and the other five conservative justices appeared to lend more credence to arguments made by six GOP-controlled states, which claimed the White House bypassed congressional approval to make the policy.
“Despite the administration’s attempts at avoiding Congressional oversight, we’re working to protect hardworking Americans and put a stop to the president’s reckless actions,” said Ernst, who also sits on the Senate HELP Committee.
She added that the loan forgiveness amounts to a wealth transfer from “working families” to the “wealthy.”
Cassidy and 41 other US senators also authored an amicus brief to the High Court that challenged the Biden administration over the debt forgiveness. He and Sen. John Thune (R-SD) introduced a bill in April 2022 to roll back a separate student loan pause that the Biden administration prolonged during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both policies hinge on the national emergency declaration Biden declared — despite having admitted that the pandemic was “over” last year.
The student loan forgiveness plan makes use of a 2003 law meant to “alleviate hardship” for recipients during a national emergency and was authored to aid US service members in the wake of the Iraq war.
A ruling on the case is expected by late June. Biden’s emergency declaration expires the month before on May 11.