- The House passed a bill on Wednesday to overturn Biden’s student-debt relief plans.
- Two Democrats — Jared Golden and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez — voted for its passage.
- The bill now faces an uncertain path in the Senate, and Biden said he will veto it.
House Republicans had some Democratic help in passing a bill to block President Joe Biden’s student-debt relief.
On Wednesday evening, the House passed a GOP led bill— first introduced in March by Rep. Bob Good — to block Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for federal borrowers, along with ending the latest extension of the student-loan payment pause. The measure passed by a vote of 218-203 — but it wasn’t just Republicans who voted in favor of the legislation.
Democratic Reps. Jared Golden of Maine and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington joined Republicans in voting in favor of overturning Biden’s student-debt relief policies. Their offices did not respond to Insider’s request for comment on why they voted to pass the bill, but Gluesenkamp Perez wrote on Twitter on Thursday that “expansions of student debt forgiveness need to be matched dollar-for-dollar with investments in career & technical education. I can’t support the first without the other. The severe shortage of trades workers needs to be seen & treated as a national priority. It’s about respect.”
“I’m all for repairing what’s busted but the higher education system is totaled,” she wrote. “College costs too much & the credentials produced get unwarranted social status, justifying more cost increases by our country’s elite. They need to snap out of it & the system needs a total overhaul.”
As Insider previously reported, the bill was introduced using the Congressional Review Act, which is a fast-track tool lawmakers can use to overturn final rules put in place by federal agencies. Some Democratic lawmakers and advocates have said that, given the language of the CRA statute, the bill to overturn student-debt relief would be retroactive, meaning borrowers would risk having payments made during the payment pause reinstated if the legislation passes.
The bill to overturn student-debt relief now heads to the closely divided Senate, where it faces an uncertain path ahead. The Office of Management and Budget said on Monday that if the bill makes it to Biden’s desk, he’ll veto it, and Democrats blasted the House’s passage of the legislation.
“House Republicans just voted to throw 260K public servants back into debt & force 36 million Americans to immediately pay back months of paused student loans,” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “They would rather give tax breaks to giant corporations than help families crushed by debt. I’ll continue to fight this.”
And during House floor debate prior to the vote, Democratic Rep. Maxwell Frost said to top Republican on the House education committee Virginia Foxx that “if we legislated using the logic that you bring to this issue today, women and Black folks wouldn’t have the right to vote because it would be unfair to those who never got to vote before them. If we legislated using your logic, that because there was an injustice, we can’t fix it because it’s unfair to those who never had it fixed, means we would never progress on any issue in this country.”
—Acyn (@Acyn) May 24, 2023
While the bill faces its uphill battle in the Senate and on Biden’s desk, millions of student-loan borrowers continue to wait for a Supreme Court decision expected by the end of June that will decide whether Biden’s broad loan forgiveness plan is legal.
“I am proud to lead the fight against President Biden’s reckless, unilateral, and unauthorized action that would unfairly penalize those who worked hard to pay off their loans or who never took them out in the first place,” Good said in a Wednesday statement. “I am pleased that my Republican colleagues overwhelmingly supported my legislation on the House Floor today.”