WASHINGTON — A group of Republican senators unveiled a proposal Monday to revoke President Joe Biden's executive action last year to forgive some federal student loan debt.
The move escalates a political war over an issue that has divided the two parties and played out in the 2022 midterm elections.
The two-page resolution was led by Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, the ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, alongside Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Joni Ernst of Iowa, and 35 GOP co-sponsors, an advisory said.
“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?” Cassidy said. “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.”
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The proposal was brought under the Congressional Review Act, which creates a fast-track process for Congress to overturn rules issued by federal agencies within a certain period of time. It is not subject to a Senate filibuster and can pass with a simple majority.
Republicans have a slim majority in the House while Democrats hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate. But if the measure passes, Biden could veto it, requiring Congress to find two-thirds to override him.
Biden's executive action — which is backed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and other Democrats — would allow for up to $10,000 in student debt cancellation for federal borrowers making under $125,000 in individual income (or couples who file taxes jointly and earn less than $250,000 annually), and as much as $20,000 for those who receive Pell Grants. The proposal is expected to cost $400 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
“Republicans are showing us just how callous and uncaring they can be to families trying to make ends meet,” Schumer tweeted last week in anticipation of this resolution. “We will continue to fight this cruel Republican attempt to end student debt relief with everything we have.”
Biden's student debt plan divided voters in the 2022 election, with 50% approving and 47% disapproving, according to NBC News exit polls of national races. The plan is also facing a challenge in the Supreme Court.