Senators on both sides of the aisle sparred Sunday over President Biden’s student loan bailout, with even some Democrats joining GOP critics who called it “monumentally unfair” and supporters saying the controversial program finally helps the working class.
Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri said he was the first in his family to graduate from college and agreed that ‘education is important’ – but insisted the president’s federal gift was still ‘ just a bad economy.
Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri said he was the first in his family to graduate from college and agreed that ‘education is important’ – but despite this he insisted that the federal gift from the president was “just bad economics.
“I just thought it was monumentally unfair, unfair to people who didn’t go to college because they didn’t think they could afford it, unfair to people paying back their loans, unfair to people who have had a higher education in a field that the government has made no loans, and just a bad economy,” pol said on ABC News’ “This Week.”
“On top of that, I think it’s going to have a devastating long-term effect on a student loan program that was working quite effectively until about 10 years ago when the federal government took over responsibility for this program.” , he said.
Biden, following through on a campaign promise, announced Thursday that his administration would forgive $10,000 to borrowers earning less than $125,000 a year individually or $250,000 as a family.
People who have received federal Pell grants and earn less than $125,000 will be eligible for another $10,000 debt to be erased.
Blunt pointed to the $250,000 family income threshold to note that the program is unfair to people who have had a “challenge going to college.”
You “could have a joint case where one of the people isn’t currently working and the other is making $250,000. And they get $20,000 pardoned by the federal government. That’s just plain wrong,” Blunt said.
He also questioned the timing of the move.
“Here [the administration is] do it right before the election, and I think people [affected] know that they have obtained cancellation of their debt. Other people won’t know the impact this has on them or their taxes by Election Day,” Blunt said.
An analysis of the plan by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated that the cost to taxpayers would be substantial – between $400 billion and $600 billion over the next 10 years.
Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, who is locked in a close race for the U.S. Senate in Ohio with Republican JD Vance, said he understands the burden people have to bear to pay off their student loans, but also thinks Biden’s plan sends the ‘wrong message’.
“People are crushed by inflation, crushed by gas prices, food prices and everything else. And I think a targeted approach right now really sends the wrong message,” Ryan said, adding that he was proposing a tax credit that would help all working Americans.
With Biden’s solution, he said, Democrats are sidelining blue-collar workers who were once the backbone of the party.
“Really, I think we’ve lost our connection,” Ryan told CNN.
But Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), who has advocated for tuition-free colleges for years, said canceling Biden’s loan leveled the playing field.
“Sixty percent of the benefits go to people who receive Pell grants. Eighty-seven percent of the profits go to people who earn $75,000 a year,” Sanders said on ABC ‘News’ “This Week” after Blunt’s appearance.
“Look, I know it’s shocking, George, to some Republicans that the government does, on occasion, do something to help working families and low-income people,” he told AFP. host George Stephanopoulos.
“I don’t hear any of these Republicans screaming when we give massive tax breaks to billionaires, when we have an effective tax rate today, like the [top earning] 1% have a lower effective tax rate than workers,” he said.
“But suddenly when we do something for workers, it’s a terrible idea,” he said.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said she’s glad to see Americans struggling to repay student loans getting some relief, but she insisted the program should go further to reduce student loans. costs of higher education, calling them “exorbitant”. .
“Part of what it does is it deals with the debt that has accumulated because the cost of college education has gone up, because taxpayers have made less investment in our colleges and universities. public, because the for-profit colleges rushed in and figured out that they can cheat a lot of students,” Warren said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“We have to deal directly with the cost of college, absolutely,” she said.