On May 24th, the House Republicans passed a resolution to overturn President Biden’s student debt relief plan that would give up to $20,000 in loan forgiveness to borrowers in a 218-203 vote, largely along party lines. The proposal, which is also currently being considered by the Supreme Court, is estimated to cost around $400 billion. The measure was brought under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress to suspend executive actions taken by the president. However, it faces an uphill battle in the Democrat-controlled Senate, and the White House has threatened to veto it.
Prior to the vote, the House Education and Workforce Committee held a second hearing on the topic; the first hearing was held on March 23, 2023. Subcommittee Chairman Burgess Owens (R-UT) opened by conveying his concerns about the implications of President Biden’s policies on student loans. He criticized the Department of Education for exceeding its authority and implementing comprehensive reforms without congressional authorization, such as the multiple extensions of the student loan repayment moratorium and the announcement of universal student loan cancellation. Owens warned of the potential cost and inflationary pressures that these student loan policies may create.
Honorable James Kvaal, Under Secretary of Education at the U.S. Department of Education, testified about the Department of Education’s on-going efforts to address the student debt problem and increase the affordability of higher education. In addition to investing in under-resourced colleges and universities, the Department seeks to hold colleges accountable for student debt. The testimony emphasized the economic benefits of educational attainment and the necessity of making college more affordable, as well as the impact of student debt on the life plans of borrowers and the disproportionate burden faced by minority borrowers.
Mr. Richard Cordray of the Office of Federal Student Aid at the Department of Education emphasized the Administration’s commitment to improving postsecondary education accessibility, affordability, and accountability. He emphasized the implementation of the FUTURE Act and FAFSA Simplification Act in order to enhance the student aid process and promote educational access. Additionally, they have reinstated eligibility for federal student aid for over 7 million borrowers, and the Administration’s student loan debt relief program will assist borrowers affected by the pandemic.
By Asia Leach, Policy Intern