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Biden’s Student-Debt Relief Costs Taxpayers an ‘Untold Amount’: GOP

  • House Republicans continue to criticize Biden’s student-debt relief plans.
  • They said Americans will be billed an “untold amount” from proposed reforms to repayment plans.
  • As broad debt relief remains stalled in court, Biden has moved forward with other targeted reforms for borrowers. 

Even as President Joe Biden’s broad student-loan forgiveness plan remains held up in court, some Republican lawmakers aren’t holding back on criticizing other reforms for borrowers.

On Monday, the Republicans on the House education committee published a blog post claiming that Biden is “continuing to make false promises to students” after his announcement to forgive up to $20,000 in student debt for federal borrowers got blocked by two separate federal courts. 

The lawmakers wrote that while the broad relief is the most widely discussed, other policies Biden has proposed and implemented, like extending the student-loan payment pause and reforming student-loan repayment programs, will foot taxpayers with a bill to come.

“There is an untold amount about to be billed to the American people,” they wrote. They referred to Biden’s new income-driven repayment plan, which would allow borrowers to pay no more than 5% their discretionary income monthly on their undergraduate student loans — down from the current 10% — while forgiving remaining student debt for borrowers after 10 years, instead of 20.

“The Biden administration is after mass student loan cancelation and wants to use your money to pay for it,” they continued in the blog post. “In so doing, he is abusing his executive authority and subverting the Constitutional process of how laws are written and federal bills are paid.”

The question of authority has been widely debated. Biden’s broad debt relief plan is blocked in court because the conservative-backed lawsuits argued it was an overreach of authority using the HEROES Act of 2003, which gives the Education Secretary the ability to waive or modify student-loan balances in connection with a national emergency, like COVID-19.

Republicans have long criticized the costs that have accompanied extending the student-loan payment pause that was first implemented under former President Donald Trump, and Biden just extended it for his sixth time through June 30, or whenever the lawsuits challenging the relief resolve — whichever happens first. With regards to that one-time broad relief, the Congressional Budget Office estimated in September that the plan would cost $400 billion, but as Insider previously reported, that number pales in comparison to other major expenditures like the defense budget, which cost $700 billion in 2022.

The Biden administration even expressed concerns with cost of continued relief, noting in a legal filing that extending the student-loan payment pause is not ideal due to the cost it would incur. But the administration, and Democratic lawmakers, have made clear any student-debt relief is worth the cost to help Americans recover from the pandemic and work toward reforming a student-loan industry that has blocked borrowers from relief for years.

“President Biden has the legal authority to cancel student debt—President Obama and President Trump both used the same power,” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote on Twitter last week. “The sooner we defeat GOP officials’ baseless legal action, the sooner we can deliver student debt relief to hard-working Americans.”