Biden condemns GOP criticism of student debt forgiveness

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the administration’s plans to cancel federal student loan debt during a speech in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., August 24, 2022.

Leah Millis | Reuters

President Joe Biden criticized congressional Republicans who criticized student loan forgiveness after passing tax cuts for the wealthy.

“I will never apologize for helping America’s middle class, especially not to the same people who voted for a $2 trillion tax cut for the wealthy, giant corporations that ran the deficit,” said the president. tweeted from his official @POTUS account Thursday.

Biden made one of the most influential political decisions of his presidency on Wednesday when he announced the forgiveness of up to $10,000 of federal student loan debt for borrowers earning less than $125,000 per year or $250,000 for married couples or heads of households. Pell Grant recipients can have their debt forgiven up to $20,000.

The debt relief is capped the amount of the borrower’s outstanding debt, according to the Ministry of Education.

Some congressional Republicans immediately sought to undermine Biden’s debt cancellation plan. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, called it a “radical agenda.”

“Biden’s debt transfer scam will make inflation even worse and do nothing to stop the spiraling cost of college for most families,” McCarthy said on Twitter Wednesday. “Americans can’t afford the Democrats’ radical agenda.”

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene called the loan forgiveness policy “unfair” in an interview on conservative news network Newsmax TV.

“Taxpayers across the country…they shouldn’t have to pay off the big, big student loan debt of a student who has racked up massive debt by going to an Ivy League school,” Greene said. The Georgia Republican added that Biden’s debt cancellation policy is a plan to attract Democratic votes in November’s midterm elections.

But public records show Greene received loan forgiveness in the early months of the pandemic. A $182,200 Paycheck Protection Program loan issued to Greene’s company, Taylor Commercial Inc., in April 2020 was forgiven with accrued interest, according to records kept by ProPublica.

And wealthy Americans benefited from a nearly $2 trillion tax loophole after the former president donald trump signed on Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — passed by a Republican-controlled Congress — into law in 2017. Three-quarters of the benefits of the tax cuts outlined in the law would go to the top 1%, according to analysis by the Tax Foundation.

Biden’s debt cancellation policy should cost the federal government about $244 billion, according to higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz. Forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients will cost another $120 billion.

The debt cancellation plan also extends the pause on student loan debt repayments as of December 31, 2022.

More than 40 million Americans owe $1.7 trillion in student debt.

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