The Senate has advanced a measure that would repeal President Biden’s signature student loan forgiveness initiative, a strong indication that it may ultimately pass Congress. The House approved the bill last week. But Biden has vowed that he will veto the measure.
Here’s where things stand.
House Passed Student Loan Forgiveness Repeal Last Week
Last week, the Republican-led House of Representatives passed a resolution under the Congressional Review Act reversing President Biden’s mass student loan forgiveness plan. Biden’s initiative would allow nearly 40 million borrowers to receive up to $20,000 in student debt relief on government-held federal student loans. Federal courts blocked the plan last fall in response to legal challenges, which are now before the Supreme Court.
Resolutions under the Congressional Review Act, or CRA, allow Congress to nullify newly-enacted federal rules and regulations. In addition to repealing Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, the CRA resolution would also reverse his most recent extension of the student loan pause, which has been in effect since March 2020. This would immediately throw millions of borrowers back into repayment.
Advocacy groups for borrowers slammed the CRA resolution. The American Federation of Teachers called the effort “immoral.” And the NAACP warned in a statement last week that if enacted, the repeal would have “catastrophic consequences” for borrowers.
Senate Appears Poised To Pass Student Loan Forgiveness Repeal
On Wednesday, 51 senators voted to advance the CRA resolution in a procedural vote, setting the stage for full passage as early as tomorrow. Two Democrats — Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Jon Tester of Montana — joined Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who is now an Independent after leaving the Democratic party last year, along with Republican senators in advancing the measure. All three are moderate senators facing tough reelection environments next year.
“51 Senators voted just now to advance the cheap shot #StudentDebtCRA that throws 40+ million working Americans into economic ruin,” tweeted the Student Borrower Protection Center following the procedural vote. “Borrowers are watching.”
“It’s no surprise that Republicans are pushing to block @POTUS‘ plan to deliver student debt relief to 43 million borrowers,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren in a tweet on Wednesday. “Time & again, they’ve showed they’d rather help giant corporations than working people. I’m taking this fight to the Senate floor.”
Biden Has Promised To Veto Student Loan Forgiveness Repeal
A final Senate vote on the CRA resolution is expected on Thursday. Unlike most legislation, CRA resolutions are not subject to a Senate filibuster, which typically requires 60 votes to overcome. The resolution can pass the Senate with a simple majority.
However, President Biden has promised to veto the measure if it passes the Senate. A veto would almost certainly kill the repeal effort, as supporters of the resolution appear unlikely to come close to the two-thirds supermajority threshold necessary in either chamber of Congress to override the President.
Separately, Biden also managed to exclude a repeal of his student loan forgiveness plan from a compromise government spending bill to raise the debt ceiling. House Republicans had previously passed a debt ceiling bill in April that would have eliminated Biden’s student debt relief plan. However, the debt ceiling compromise bill codifies the end of the student loan pause, infuriating student loan borrower advocacy groups.
The House is expected to vote on the debt ceiling bill this week, as well. Meanwhile, a Supreme Court decision on Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan is expected within weeks.
Further Student Loan Forgiveness Reading
Biden Saves Student Loan Forgiveness (For Now), But Confirms End Of Student Loan Pause
If The Supreme Court Rejects Student Loan Forgiveness Plan, Biden Could Do This
Lowering Student Loan Payments Just Got Easier Amid Uncertainty Over Loan Forgiveness
Student Loan Forgiveness Eligibility Expanded In 3 Ways Under New Account Adjustment Guidance