Administration

Asked if student debt relief is ‘fair,’ Biden takes jab at GOP tax cuts

Associated Press/Evan Vucci
President Joe Biden speaks about student loan debt forgiveness in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022, in Washington. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona listens at right. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

When reporters asked whether his plan to cancel student loan debt is unfair to those who have already paid off or chose not to take out loans, President Biden on Wednesday parried with a hit at tax cuts on the rich. 

“Is it fair to people who, in fact, do not own multibillion-dollar businesses, if they see one of these guys getting all the tax cuts? Is that fair? What do you think?” Biden told reporters after his remarks introducing the plan.

The president had earlier announced that the administration is forgiving up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt for Americans earning less than $125,000 a year. Pell Grant recipients are eligible for forgiveness of up to $20,000 in debt. 

A pandemic freeze on federal student loan repayments and interest accrual was extended for a sixth time, just ahead of the Aug. 31 expiration date set when the deadline was last pushed back.

The controversial debt relief move has been lauded by Democrats, while Republicans have knocked the plan as economically irresponsible and cautioned that it will burden Americans at large with the canceled debt.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday called the decision a “wildly unfair redistribution of wealth” and a “slap in the face” to those who have already paid off their debt or worked to avoid taking out student loans. 

By contrast, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said in a joint statement on Twitter that “the positive impacts of this will be felt by working families across America—particularly in communities of color.”

Some recent polling indicates most Americans support student loan forgiveness, though other data shows a majority are worried that the move could worsen inflation.

Tags Biden Charles Schumer Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden pell grant student loan debt Student loan forgiveness student loan freeze

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