Representatives room passed a bill on Wednesday aimed at blocking President Joe Biden’s student debt cancellation plan and ending the pause on federal student loan payments and interest.
The Republican-sponsored bill passed by a vote of 218 to 203, with two Democrats joining the Republican majority in favor of the resolution. It’s unclear whether the bill will pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, but if it does, the White House has already sworn to veto it.
“This resolution is an unprecedented attempt to undermine our historic economic recovery and would deny more than 40 million hard-working Americans much-needed student debt relief,” the Office of Management and budget. said in a press release.
The resolution follows a Republican-led proposal last month, that would have raised the debt ceiling, but blocked Biden’s student debt relief plan and changes to income-contingent repayment.
Currently, Biden’s plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student debt per borrower earning less than $125,000 a year rests with the Supreme Court. The court is expected to rule by the end of June.
Here is where things stand now.
The payment break will end this summer
Despite some hopes that the the pause on student loan payments could be extended again if the Supreme Court overturns debt forgiveness, the Biden administration has said the pause will end this summer.
“We are committed to ensuring that once the decision is made, we will resume payments 60 days after,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said. confirmed last week during a Senate appropriations hearing. “But no later than June 30, we will start this process.”
House Republicans aren’t the first to call for an end to the payment break, either. In March, SoFi Bank filed a complaint try to compel the federal government to immediately resume collection of payments, call the most recent extension of the break “unlawful for several reasons”.
26 million borrowers requested debt forgiveness
During the brief window last fall when borrowers could apply for Biden’s loan forgiveness program, 26 million people asked to have their balance reduced by up to $10,000 (up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients).
The Biden administration approved 16 million borrowers for forgiveness before it needed to stop processing applications while legal challenges unfold.
While Biden’s student debt cancellation plan has been a partisan issue since it was announced, it has now become particularly polarizing as parties discuss government spending.
“To the more than 40 million eligible student borrowers who are anxiously awaiting the fate of their debt relief, I urge you…watch which Republican lawmakers shamelessly vote against debt relief for you after having their own loans,” the White House said. Press officer Karine Jean-Pierre said at a press briefing Wednesday.
Opponents of the forgiveness plan claim injustice to non-borrowers and those who have repaid their loans. They claim that Biden does not have the authority to cancel debt without congressional approval.
“President Biden’s student loan transfer program is transferring hundreds of billions of dollars in payments from student borrowers onto the backs of the American people,” said Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., who introduced the resolution in March. . in a report.
Nearly half of Americans approve of Biden’s pardon plan
As of mid-April, about 47% of Americans support Biden’s student debt cancellation plan in its current form, according to a USA Today/Ipsos poll. Of those who currently have student debt, 83% approve of Biden’s plan, while 3 in 4 Americans without loans also support relief, the poll found.
Optimism, however, is not as strong, at least among young adults. More than two-thirds — 67% — say they don’t think Biden’s debt cancellation will happen, according to a recent Scholarship Owl poll more than 11,000 middle and high school students.
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