Nebraska delegation critical of Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan

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Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 5:37 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON DC (KSNB/AP) - President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced detailed plans to provide $10,000 in student debt cancellation for millions of Americans — and up to $10,000 more for those with the greatest financial need — along with measures to lower the burden of repayment for their remaining federal student debt.

Borrowers who earn less than $125,000 a year, or families earning less than $250,000, would be eligible for the $10,000 loan forgiveness, Biden announced. For those who also receive Pell Grants, which are reserved for undergraduates with the most significant financial need, the federal government would cancel up to an additional $10,000 in federal loan debt.

Throughout the day, people have reacted to the news with some of Nebraska’s delegation calling it a debt forgiveness scheme.

“The President can spin it however he wants with Pell window dressing, but at the end of the day his debt forgiveness scheme forces blue-collar workers to subsidize white-collar graduate students. Instead of demanding accountability from an underperforming higher education sector that pushes so many young Americans into massive debt, the Administration’s unilateral plan baptizes a broken system. This deeply regressive action — which fails even to acknowledge that most debt is held by folks with graduate degrees — will do nothing to jumpstart the reform higher education desperately needs.”

Sen. Ben Sasse

“Yet another economically backwards policy from the Biden administration that unfairly pushes the burden of these loans onto all American taxpayers and further fuels the inflation fire.

It’s not just the multibillion-dollar cost. These loans are not magically “gone” – the debt is being transferred from those who borrowed it to current and future taxpayers.

Working-class families who followed the rules and paid off their student loans, as well as the vast number of Americans who did not go to college, must now cover the cost of others who accumulated this debt. That is not right.

We should be focused on policies that address the root causes of high tuition and providing the American people will better access to the educational opportunities they deserve.”

Sen. Deb Fischer

“President Biden’s plan to cancel student debt places the ultimate burden of cost on those who can afford it least. This proposal will cost hundreds of billions of dollars and benefit the top 60 percent of earners. Not only would it drive up the national debt and drive down the value of a college-level or technical education, this proposal leaves expensive colleges and universities with little incentive to lower exorbitant tuition costs. Furthermore, it will make record-high inflation even worse. This is a disastrous combination that will benefit the highest earners while leaving lower and middle income Americans on the hook for a radical, reckless proposal with no accountability. President Biden must abandon this debt transfer scheme.”

Rep. Adrian Smith

“Joe Biden and Washington Democrats continue to push policy that will only worsen inflation and make education more expensive. Canceling student loans doesn’t make the loans simply disappear – it’s a scam that shifts the burden onto the shoulders of working Americans across the country. Instead of this, Congress needs to work to make education more affordable and to fight against Joe Biden’s policies that are encouraging colleges to raise tuition and push working families and students into even further into debt.”

Rep. Mike Flood

“President Biden’s federal student loan cancelation plan is a “robin-hood” in reverse where the working man and woman is paying for the wealthiest in our society. Those who worked two jobs to pay off their school debt or selected the most cost effective means to gain an education got the shaft from Joe Biden. From the laborer who went to a trade school and has zero debt, to our Nebraska farmers who are fighting high fuel and fertilizer prices, this plan simply shifts the burden of debt to them to pay off, but does not erase it. This also undermines our military who incentivize joining by offering degrees and tuition assistance.

“We should be looking at programs that lower interest rates, incentivize employers to offer tuition assistance programs, or offer some forgiveness to those who take needed jobs in underserved areas. Our national debt continues to grow and this undermines personal accountability.”

Rep. Don Bacon

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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