- Five Republican senators on Wednesday introduced a bill that would ban student loan forgiveness.
- The law prohibits Biden from taking any action to cancel or forgive borrower balances.
- The bill is unlikely to become law anytime soon with a 50-50 Senate and a Democratic-controlled House.
Student borrowers hungry for large debt forgiveness will be out of luck if Sen. Mitt Romney has anything to say about it.
The Utah lawmaker and several of his fellow Republicans introduced a new bill on Wednesday that would prevent the Biden administration from largely canceling student loan debt — a policy move the president has been considering since taking office on last year.
The Student Loan Accountability Act would prohibit Biden’s education, justice and treasury departments from taking any action that would cancel or forgive student loan borrowers’ outstanding balances or even portions of those balances, according to a Press release Wednesday.
The bill would include exemptions for student loan forgiveness, forgiveness and repayment programs that are already in effect, such as the civil service loan forgiveness and teacher loan forgiveness programs.
Republican Meaning. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Thom Tillis of North Carolina joined Romney in introducing the bill to Congress this week.
The bill is unlikely to become law anytime soon with a 50-50 Senate, a Democratic-controlled House and Biden in the Oval Office.
More than 40 million Americans currently hold over $1.7 trillion in student debt. On the campaign trail in 2020, Biden promised to pardon $10,000 per borrower, but more than a year into his presidency, little movement has been made on a broad pardon.
“It makes no sense for the Biden administration to write off nearly $2 trillion in student loan debt,” Romney said in a statement. statement, apparently referring to the unlikely scenario in which the president wrote off all US student loan debt.
“This decision would not only be unfair to those who have already paid off their loans or decided to pursue alternative education paths, but it would be extremely inflationary in an era of already historic inflation,” the senator added.
Repeatedly in a Wednesday press release, lawmakers said Biden’s legal authority to write off or write off swathes of student loan debt is “legally dubious.” Earlier this year, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said the president was exploring his legal options for a possible pardon.
Recent indications from the White House suggest Biden is considering student loan forgiveness of at least $10,000 per borrower through executive action, though questions remain about who would be eligible.
Republican lawmakers sponsoring the bill said canceling student loans would raise inflation rates, worsen inequalities, and encourage colleges and universities to continue raising tuition fees. A May analysis found that Biden’s $10,000 plan would cost the government $321 billion.
But despite the ongoing controversy surrounding the policy, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said last week that canceling student loans “could be good for the economy”.
“Some compromises have to be analyzed,” she told a Senate hearing.
Meanwhile, Democrats and advocates continue to urge Biden to consider even more forgiveness, with progressives calling for $50,000 per borrower — an amount the president himself has said he isn’t considering.
Romney has previously spoken out against the student loan forgiveness, calling it a “bribe” to voters. He warned it could be a slippery slope that leads to a broad forgiveness of other types of debt.