Biden vetoed a GOP-led attempt to overturn his plan to forgive student-loan debt


President Joe Biden vetoed a GOP-led effort to block his student debt relief measures on June 7, 2023. The bill, which was passed by both the House and Senate, would have seen recipients have up to $20,000 of debt wiped. Biden’s debt-relief plan, targeted by the bill, would forgive $10,000 in student debt, or up to $20,000 for those who have received a Pell Grant, for borrowers making under $125,000 a year. The plan is estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to cost taxpayers around $400 billion over a 40-year period. The Supreme Court is also due to consider the legality of Biden’s plan by the end of June.
On May 28th, 2021, President Joe Biden vetoed a Republican-led move to roll back his plan to forgive up to $10,000 in student loan debt for US borrowers, saying it was critical to protect “millions of Americans” from debt burdens.

The rollback amendment to the president’s budget request was added by the Republican-majority House of Representatives. Pressure had mounted ahead of the vote: an estimated 45 million Americans face student debt and the expected economic impact of the relief initiative has been estimated at $89 billion.

In a press conference, Biden expressed his support for debt cancellation and concluded it would be a “travesty” and “irresponsible” to remove resources from people struggling with debt.

The move early in Biden’s presidency has been closely associated with his wider proposals and strategy regarding college affordability. In addition to student debt relief, the White House has sought to double the maximum Pell grant that would help low-income students to pay tuition fees and allow for the refinancing of federal loans at lower interest rates.

The president has maintained his stance that debt relief is a matter of economic justice. Despite the fact that nearly 38% of US students default on their loans within five years of graduating, the Department of Education has moved to forgive the worst offenders’ debts, citing the need to help the millions of low-income and Black and Latino borrowers most impacted by the burden of student debt.

The decision by Biden to veto the rollback is a victory for students and their advocates, who have previously called on the president to address the escalating debt crisis. The moment now underlines Biden’s commitment to ensure debt relief and urge Congress to do more to ensure college affordability.

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