Senate conservatives plan parliamentary attack on Biden’s student debt program

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News

Three powerful members of the Republicans’ Senate delegation say they will attempt to use checks and balances to halt President Joe Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness plan. 

Friday, Sens. Bill Cassady (R-La.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), and John Cornyn (R-Texas) said they would attempt to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which gives the Senate and House the right to review rules changes made by the executive branch, to defeat the president’s $400 billion plan to offer relief to student loan borrowers. 

“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,” Cassidy, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, said in a statement. “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.”

The process for Cornyn and company is simple, but likely impossible given the dimensions of the senate. 

If Cassidy, Ernst, and Cornyn can convince 48 of their colleagues to vote in favor of the CRA resolution, the Biden student debt relief program would not only die, it would likely need to be scrapped. 

CRA-killed bills are rare and the likelihood of the Democratic majority voting in favor of the resolution is exceedingly low. 

“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,” Cornyn said in a statement. “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.”

The White House scoffed at the idea the resolution was even affected by the CRA, which is counter to a ruling from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). 

A WhiteHouse spokesperson said the policy  “is based on the Department of Education’s decades-old authority granted by Congress and is a result of the same procedures used by multiple administrations over the last two decades to protect borrowers from the effects of national emergencies.” 

The spokesperson also stated, “It’s a shame for working families across the country that Republican lawmakers continue to fight tooth and nail to deny critical relief to millions of their own constituents impacted by the pandemic. President Biden, Vice President Harris, and [Education] Secretary [Miguel] Cardona recognize how essential this relief is for tens of millions of working families, and they will continue fighting to deliver much-needed support to borrowers trying to get back on their feet after the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.”

The Supreme Court is currently deliberating over the legality of the Biden plan.