Democrats facing competitive elections in November are not embracing President Joe Biden’s debt forgiveness plan.
What are they saying?
Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.), who is facing a tight re-election battle, outright condemned Biden for sidestepping Congress.
[T]his announcement by President Biden is no way to make policy and sidesteps Congress and our oversight and fiscal responsibilities. Any plan to address student debt should go through the legislative process, and it should be more targeted and paid for so it doesn’t add to the deficit.
The President’s plan also doesn’t address the underlying issue of the affordability of higher education, and it is clear that the high cost continues to limit opportunities available to students.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who is running for the U.S. Senate, said Biden’s plan “sends the wrong message.”
“[W]hile there’s no doubt that a college education should be about opening opportunities, waiving debt for those already on a trajectory to financial security sends the wrong message to the millions of Ohioans without a degree working just as hard to make ends meet,” Ryan said in a statement. “Instead of forgiving student loans for six-figure earners, we should be working to level the playing field for all Americans.”
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) similarly told the Nevada Independent, “I don’t agree with today’s executive action because it doesn’t address the root problems that make college affordable.”
Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) said, “This decision by the president is out of touch with what the majority of the American people want from the White House, which is leadership to address the most immediate challenges the country is facing.”
What is the significance?
The reactions suggest that Democrats are concerned the plan is unpopular with moderate voters, those that decide the outcome of elections.
Whereas Democrats appear to have been reaping the electoral benefits of a post-Roe v. Wade world, the perception that Biden’s plan is inherently unfair will likely plague Democrats at the ballot box.
Not only does the plan benefit the education at the expense of the uneducated, but it blocks future students from reaping any benefits. That is because only student loans taken out before July 2022 are eligible for forgiveness.
Meanwhile, a married couple who makes $249,000 annually could receive a maximum of $40,000 of debt forgiveness under Biden’s plan. That reality alone leaves millions of Americans wondering why they should be on the hook for someone else’s debt problems.
And what is the Biden administration saying about the perceived unfairness? Tough luck.
“The people that already paid their student loans, they don’t get anything out of this deal?” Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy asked Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Wednesday.
“Right,” Cardona admitted.