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Both Republican and Democrat lawmakers sounded the alarm on President Biden’s potential plan to cancel student loan debt, and suggested alternatives to support borrowers without costing taxpayers billions.
Biden said in a press conference late last month he is considering canceling “some” student loan debt.
“I am not considering $50,000 debt reduction, but I am in the process of taking a hard look at whether or not there will be additional debt forgiveness,” Biden said.
“I think it’s a crazy idea, it’s wasting too much money,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, R., told Fox News Digital at the Milken Institute’s 2022 Global Conference. “We’ve been working to try and make college more affordable, we’ve been trying to help people that are struggling, but to say we’re just going to pump more money into an economy where we have out-of-control inflation… I don’t think it’s the right solution.”
Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., said lawmakers need to look at whether the country can afford to cancel student loan debt.
“I don’t think it can just be a blanket, ‘we’re going to wipe out all of the student loans,’” she said. “I think there’s all different kinds of levels of that we’ve got to really dig deep on.”
Some members of the media don’t think canceling student loan debt it is such a crazy idea.
MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan cheered Biden’s plans, and encouraged him to “do it.”
“Canceling federal student debt could be a game changer ahead of the midterms. Activists energized, base enthused, young people turning out again. And the best part: Joe Manchin wouldn’t be able to do a single damn thing to stop Joe Biden from doing it,” Hasan said.
Washington Post columnist Perry Bacon made “The political case for forgiving student loan debt.”
“There are three big electoral reasons to forgive student loan debt,” Bacon wrote. “To appeal to younger voters and those with debt, to please the Democratic base, and to give Biden’s presidency momentum.”
Another Washington Post columnist, Christien Emba, questioned “Why such a lack of compassion on student debt?”
“Why can’t we let good things happen to other people?” she questioned.
Author Christina Wyman called opposition to student loan forgiveness “selfish” and “extreme” in a NBC News column.
Lawmakers who spoke to Fox News Digital supported alternate plans to support borrowers in paying off their student loan debt.
“My vision is we ought to have a way to reward people who have been taking out a student loan by encouraging it to be paid off by an employer,” Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., said.
“My vision is we ought to have a way to reward people who have been taking out a student loan by encouraging it to be paid off by an employer,” Hill added. “We need to be positive about this because it’s utterly unfair to … the thousands of people who’ve worked their tails off to pay back their student loans just to have Uncle Sugar in the form of Joe Biden just forgive it.”
Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., suggested getting the federal government out of the student loan business altogether, and having a conversation “about where the buck actually stops.”
“If this was a scam, if this was a fraudulent effort, which some of the forgiveness conversation suggests, then who were the perpetrators? It was universities.” He said. “It was especially for-profit universities. It was especially those offering graduate degrees of dubious worth and value.”
Bustos suggested considering some student loan forgiveness, but on a more limited scale.
“I believe in taking a look at the professions where we are having a really hard time filling those – teachers, nurses, for that matter, even apprenticeships in jobs … where we’re building things,” she said. “First of all, can we afford that as a nation? Number two, is it worth taking a look at that by profession? And then number three, is it worth taking a look at those who are in the higher earning jobs?”
During his presidential campaign, Biden supported erasing $10,000 in student debt for most borrowers, but has raised questions about his legal authority to do so via executive order. During a press briefing last week, press secretary Jen Psaki said an income cap for student loan forgiveness was under consideration.
Biden has extended the freeze on student loan payments through Aug. 31, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fox News’ Hanna Panreck and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.