PResident Joe Biden has remained largely silent about his student loan forgiveness program in the weeks since his announcement, but is now speaking out aggressively about it and calling out critics of the program days before the midterm elections.
The White House released a “by the numbers” sheet Thursday morning lashing out at the GOP on the issue, and Biden gave a speech in New Mexico touting the cancellation of student loans that afternoon.
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“It’s temporarily on hold – why?” Biden said, referring to lawsuits that have frozen student loan forgiveness for the time being. “Because Republican members of Congress and Republican governors are doing everything they can, including suing us, to deny aid even to their own constituents.”
Keeping a campaign promise and bowing to pressure from his party’s left wing, Biden announced Aug. 24 that he would shift $10,000 in student debt from borrowers to taxpayers for all but the highest incomes and up to 20 $000 per borrower for those who received Pell Grants. . The total program is estimated at $500 billion.
But he barely mentioned it in the following weeks, leaving loan forgiveness out of stump speeches and groundbreaking ceremonies. That stance has shifted again in recent weeks as the president has taken a more aggressive tone on everything from big oil to the economy to Social Security.
“Their outrage is just plain wrong and, I might add, hypocritical,” Biden told opponents of the loan program. “By fighting them in court, we’re not going to let them get away with this.”
Republicans point to 87% who have no student debt, predicting ‘blue-collar backlash’ among those who didn’t go to college, went to college without going into debt, or paid off their loans .
“Joe Biden is a career politician and completely detached from reality, so it’s no wonder he doesn’t realize that this bailout has been out of touch and poorly received by Americans who have paid down their debt or chosen a another career,” the National Republican said. Committee spokesman Will O’Grady. “Biden has finally exposed himself as the Democratic elitist in Washington always has been.”
But it’s not just Republicans who oppose it. Seven lawsuits have been filed, most not directly affiliated with the GOP or GOP politicians. The Cato Institute, a libertarian-leaning think tank, is another entity that has sued.
Neal McCluskey, director of Cato’s Center for Educational Freedom, pointed to political reasons for Biden’s push, saying the White House might hope to increase turnout by playing on threats to cancel student loans. He points to bullet points in Biden’s “by the numbers” publication, which singles out black borrowers, Latino borrowers and blue-collar borrowers who have earned welding or dental assistant certificates — all groups that traditionally support Democrats.
There are conflicting polls on the program’s popularity. A Economist-YouGov survey found that 51% of respondents support it and 39% oppose it. Meanwhile, a Cato institute survey found that 76% opposed it if it raised the college pricejust like 64% if it raises taxes.
The fact that billions of dollars are at stake could boost Biden’s party if the people who benefit are more likely to vote. McCluskey believes the overall program has a very real chance of being struck down by a court, perhaps 50/50 either way.
The Department of Education promised borrowers they could have their loans canceled before repayments start on January 1, but that delay is also threatened by the temporary halt. It’s unclear whether the White House will attempt yet another hiatus extension if the program remains stalled.
TJ Rooney, former chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, agrees that the student loan problem may help boost turnout, though he calls it a double-edged sword because the problem also discourages some voters. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a big champion of student loan forgiveness, recently said he was concerned about midterm Democratic voter turnout among young and working-class voters.
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“If you’re now in a turnout mechanism, which everyone else is, you’re reminding people who might otherwise not be in this election that this is a tangible reason to get out there and vote Democrat,” he said. he declares. “There are things that could prevent this program from being canceled, including maintaining control of the Senate.”