The American Senate rebuffed President Joe Biden’s proposal on student loan debt cancellation on June 1, voting to discontinue the plan.
This program was designed to offset the student loan debt burden for specific beneficiaries without the involvement of Congress.
The verdict in favor of discontinuing the scheme was reached with a 52–46 vote, assisted by the votes of Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
U.S. cannot afford another $400 billion to national debt
Manchin defended his decision to vote against the plan, stating, “Today, I voted to repeal the Biden Administration’s student loan cancellation proposal because we simply cannot afford to add another $400 billion to the national debt”, referring to a Congressional Budget Office estimate in this statement.
Manchin highlighted over 50 student loan repayment and forgiveness programs in place to incentivize people to pursue vital service jobs like teaching, healthcare, and public service.
New proposal undermines existing programs
He expressed concern that the new proposal from the Biden Administration undermined these existing programs and unfairly burdened taxpayers who had either paid their student loans or had not attended college.
Biden’s initial proposal involved writing off up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt for nearly 40 million borrowers.
Republicans strongly oppose the new plan
Republicans have been particularly outspoken in opposing the debt relief program, arguing that the projected $400 billion cost would fall to U.S. taxpayers.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said, “Make no mistake: These reckless student loan schemes do not forgive debt. They transfer burden from those who willingly took out the loans to go to college to make more money when they graduated to Americans who never attended college or who have already paid back their loans. These policies are as unfair as they are irresponsible.”
Cassidy pointed out the program’s failure to address the soaring tuition costs, which, according to College Board (pdf), have risen 124 percent over the past three decades at public four-year institutions.
The Senate’s decision to reject the plan follows the House’s similar disapproval on May 24 and the passage of the debt limit deal agreed upon by Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) last week, which also calls for an end to the student loan payment halt.
Biden’s plan is ‘reckless’ and penalizes those who work hard
The joint resolution’s sponsor, Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), applauded the Senate’s June 1 decision, labeling Biden’s program as “unlawful and unfair.”
He stated, “I am proud to have led the House fight against President Biden’s reckless, unilateral, and unconstitutional action that would penalize those who worked hard to pay off their loans or who never took them out in the first place. The President should reverse course and do the right thing by signing this legislation as it heads to his desk.”
Despite this, President Biden has pledged to veto the measure. To overturn the veto, the detractors of the program would require a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and the Senate.
This feat appears unlikely, given the majority of Democrats voting against the resolution in both houses.