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Student-loan borrowers need more ‘individual responsibility,’ a top GOP lawmaker says as the House advances a bill to block Biden’s debt cancellation

Rep. Virginia FoxxRep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C.

Al Drago/CQ Roll Call

  • A GOP resolution to block student-debt cancellation advanced out of the House education committee on Wednesday.
  • Rep. Virginia Foxx said the bill would restore “individual responsibility” for borrowers.
  • The bill heads to a full House vote, but it’s unlikely to pass a Democratic-controlled Senate.

A resolution to block President Joe Biden’s student-loan forgiveness is advancing in the House.

On Wednesday, the House education committee voted to approve a resolution that would block Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for federal borrowers. It would also end the ongoing student-loan payment pause and rescind relief under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

The resolution, first introduced in March by GOP Rep. Bob Good, used the Congressional Review Act, which is an oversight tool Congress can use to overturn final rules put in place by government agencies. It advanced out of committee by a party-line vote of 24-18, and it now heads to the House floor for a full vote. 

—House Committee on Education & the Workforce (@EdWorkforceCmte) May 10, 2023

 

Top Republican on the House education committee Virginia Foxx said in a statement following the vote that “the culture of this country has shifted from one in which individuals are responsible for paying for themselves to one in which the government plays nanny to each individual need. If blanket loan forgiveness is enacted, 87 percent of Americans with no college degree or who paid off their loans will foot the bill of others’ tuition. America’s student loan system is broken.”

“Short-sighted bailouts like the ones President Biden and Democrats are proposing will leave us in a cycle of debt,” she added. “Passing H.J. Res. 45 is the first step in restoring individual responsibility and solving the root challenges of the student loan system.” 

GOP Rep. Glenn Grotham also said during the hearing that canceling student debt “further sends the message to future Americans that the idea of paying off your own loans is foolish because ultimately the government will step in and pay off those loans.”

Republicans have expressed similar sentiments since the lead up to Biden’s announcement of broad debt relief. It’s currently blocked due to two conservative-backed lawsuits that paused the implementation of the loan forgiveness, and the Supreme Court is expected to issue a final decision on the legality of the relief by the end of June.

Following the vote, top Democrat on the committee Bobby Scott said in a statement that “instead of addressing the many challenges in higher education that demand our attention, we have decided to take time with a proposal that already passed last month as part of the debt ceiling legislation,” referring to Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy’s bill to raise the debt ceiling that included banning student-loan forgiveness.

“Let’s be clear: this resolution to eliminate student debt relief would hurt millions of student borrowers and their families,” he added. “Importantly, the people who would be impacted the most by this resolution are not the ‘wealthy and well-connected.’ Under the President’s plan, 90 percent of the relief would go to borrowers earning less than $75,000 a year.”

To be sure, this resolution is unlikely to progress given the Democratic-controlled Senate and White House, but Democrats and advocacy groups have continued to sound the alarm on what the legislation would do. On Monday, 261 groups sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to reject the Republican attempts to overturn student-loan forgiveness.

“If successful, these CRA efforts would immediately force tens of millions of borrowers into abrupt and unplanned repayment with devastating effects, including adding thousands of dollars of payments and interest onto their loan balances,” the groups wrote. They added that it’s “a clear attack on millions of the most vulnerable workers and families who are still reeling from the devastating impact of COVID-19.”

Read the original article on Business Insider