Republicans Unite Behind Bill Blocking Student Loan Debt Forgiveness

Many Republicans have long decried Biden's debt forgiveness plan. Now they'll have a chance to block it outright.
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  • Republicans introduced a resolution to block student loan forgiveness up to $20,000 per person.
  • It's the party's most concrete effort to stop what Republican leaders have called an unfair program.
  • Party leaders, including Sen. Mitch McConnell, are co-sponsors of the legislation.
  • Any resolution is unlikely to get the necessary support to override the president's veto.

A significant number of Republican lawmakers seek to overturn President Joe Biden's student loan debt cancellation plan through congressional action.

Biden proposed a plan in August that would cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower making less than $125,000 per year. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently declared that the plan is subject to review through the Congressional Review Act, giving these lawmakers a chance to strike down Biden's debt relief plan.

Sens. Bill Cassidy, John Cornyn, and Joni Ernst led the effort in the Senate. The Senate resolution attracted 39 co-sponsors, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Rep. Bob Good of Virginia led the effort in the House of Representatives.

Republicans have often pointed to the debt cancellation's estimated $400 billion price tag as the primary reason for blocking the program. Many have also called the plan unfair for those who already repaid their federal student loans or those who never took out student loans to begin with.

"President Biden is not forgiving debt, he is shifting the burden of student loans off of the borrowers who willingly took on their debt and placing it onto those who chose to not go to college or already fulfilled their commitment to pay off their loans," Cassidy said in a statement.

"It is extremely unfair to punish these Americans, forcing them to pay the bill for these irresponsible and unfair student loan schemes."

The resolution would need a majority vote in both chambers to pass. Republicans hold a majority in the House of Representatives but not the Senate.

Even if a resolution blocking Biden's plan passed, the president maintains veto power. Lawmakers need a two-thirds majority to override the veto, which is a number legislators are unlikely to meet.

The resolution does, however, force lawmakers to pick a side on the issue or abstain.

"Congress should stop these unilateral actions, and I am proud to lead the fight in the House to hold President Biden accountable for his reckless, unfair, and unlawful student loan proposal," Good said in a statement. "I hope all my colleagues will join me and support this effort."

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona denounced the congressional action.

"Republicans in Congress represent millions of borrowers who have applied for student debt relief," he said in a statement. "It's a shame for these borrowers — the overwhelming majority of whom make less than $75,000 a year — and their families that their representatives are working so hard to deny them critical relief."