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Biden vetoes House effort to slash student debt relief

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Biden vetoes House effort to slash student debt relief
By Pete Levine ·
Tags: Student Debt

President Joe Biden has vetoed an effort by anti-worker lawmakers to block Americans from receiving the student debt relief they need as they continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Congressional Review Act resolution would have stopped the president’s student loan cancellation plan – enacted during the pandemic – which provided $10,000 in debt relief for all direct loan holders and $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. Biden’s relief plan was meant to help nearly 40 million borrowers, 90% of whom earn less than $75,000 per year.

AFSCME, which has led the fight to fix a broken student loan system, supported Biden’s efforts to make college more affordable and create a fairer, more manageable student loan system.

But some anti-worker lawmakers wanted to reverse the progress Biden has made, even though doing so would have led to a dramatic spike in economic hardship — particularly for the most vulnerable borrowers. They also wanted to discontinue the loan payment pause enacted during the pandemic and force borrowers to repay tens of billions of dollars in payments and interest.

The House resolution would have also harmed those involved in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). It would have forced more than 260,000 public service workers who received loan forgiveness through PSLF to repay their loans and possibly make them ineligible for forgiveness if they left their public service jobs.

“I’m not going to back down on my efforts to help tens of millions of working and middle-class families,” Biden said in a tweet after his veto Wednesday.

Biden also pointed out that some members of Congress who supported the bill to cut student debt relief received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans during the pandemic and have voted for huge tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.

Meanwhile, Biden’s entire student loan forgiveness program is under review at the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices heard arguments from both sides earlier this year and are expected to issue a ruling this month.

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