- Last week, three GOP lawmakers announced a plan to overturn Biden’s student-debt relief in Congress.
- Sen. Chuck Schumer blasted the plan on Monday, saying he will fight it “with everything we have.”
- The GAO confirmed to the GOP lawmakers that the debt relief is a rule that can be subject to oversight.
Republicans have a new plan to block President Joe Biden’s student-loan forgiveness, and a top Democrat is pushing back.
On Friday, GOP Sens. Bill Cassidy, John Cornyn, and Joni Ernst announced their resolution to overturn Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for federal borrowers using the Congressional Review Act. The CRA is an oversight tool that Congress can use to overturn federal rules. The Government Accountability Office confirmed to the GOP lawmakers that it considers Biden’s debt relief plan a rule, and “no exception applies.”
Since Biden announced his debt relief, Republicans have criticized the policy and introduced legislation to block the president from implementing loan forgiveness. But this is the first time the CRA has come into play, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted the idea on Twitter on Monday.
“Republicans are showing us just how callous and uncaring they can be to families trying to make ends meet,” he wrote. “We will continue to fight this cruel Republican attempt to end student debt relief with everything we have.”
The Education Department also responded to the GAO report by saying that Biden’s debt relief should not be subject to the CRA because it’s a “one-time, fact-bound application of existing and statutorily prescribed waiver and modification authority.”
Still, Republicans are using the GAO’s response as ammunition for pushing this plan forward. Chair of the House education committee Virginia Foxx said in a Friday statement that the GAO decision “found the Biden federal student loan debt transfer scheme should have been submitted to Congress as a ‘rule.'”
“The Government Accountability Office confirmed today what the American people already knew: the President cannot rule by press release,” she said. “The Congressional Review Act is one of Congress’s key tools to hold the executive branch accountable for not implementing laws with fidelity.”
Biden’s debt relief plan is currently blocked due to two conservative-backed lawsuits that paused its implementation in November. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the cases last month and will issue a decision on the legality of the relief by June, but Republican lawmakers clearly do not want to wait until then.
Along with the CRA resolution, some of them have introduced bills to block student-debt reliefand floated that same idea in a potential deal to raise the debt ceiling. They have also challenged the student-loan payment pause, which is sent to end 60 days after June 30, or 60 days after the lawsuits are resolved, whichever happens first.
Along with GOP legislation to end the payment pause, SoFi Bank — a student-loan refinancing company — recently filed a lawsuit to end the payment pause, and at the very least, return borrowers ineligible for Biden’s broad debt relief back into repayment. Amid the challenges from lawmakers an lenders, Biden’s Education Department continues to maintain confidence in its broad debt relief plan and the legality of the payment pause, saying in a statement earlier this month that “the payment pause is legal, as is our plan to provide one-time debt relief to tens of millions of borrowers most at risk of delinquency and default when they return to repayment.”