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GOP lawmakers want to block Biden from canceling student debt and extending the payment

After President Joe Biden suggested increased openness to canceling student debt broadly, a group of Republican lawmakers took the first step in attempting to put a stop to that.

On Wednesday, GOP Sens. John Thune, Richard Burr, Mike Braun, Bill Cassidy, and Roger Marshall introduced the Stop Reckless Student Loans Action Act, legislation that would end Biden’s pause on student loan payments and prohibit him from canceling student debt broadly as part of an emergency response to the pandemic.

“As Americans continue to return to the workforce more than two years since the pandemic began, it is time for borrowers to resume repayment of student debt obligations,” Thune said in a statement. “Taxpayers and working families should not be responsible for continuing to bear the costs associated with this suspension of repayment. This common-sense legislation would protect taxpayers and prevent President Biden from suspending federal student loan repayments in perpetuity.”

Biden recently extended the pause on student-loan payments for his fourth time, through August 31, and he suggested to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Monday that he is open to canceling at least $10,000 in student debt for every federal borrower. Republicans’ have consistently slammed the notion of broad student-loan forgiveness, arguing it will cost taxpayers and the economy.

According to the press release, the bill would still allow Biden to “temporarily suspend repayment for low- and middle-income borrowers in future national emergencies.” It added that pausing student-loan payments disproportionately benefits high earners, which progressives have pushed back against, and cited the $5 billion cost per month that accompanied each pause.

Despite GOP pushback, Biden’s Monday meeting with the Hispanic Caucus suggests he’s willing to go beyond his $10,000 student-loan forgiveness campaign pledge. The Washington Post reported that, according to lawmakers in attendance, Biden is hoping to carry out this relief sooner rather than later, but NBC News reported on Wednesday the president did not specify a dollar amount or a timeline. It is likely whatever relief he implements will be linked to income, meaning it likely will not be as far-reaching as many Democratic lawmakers are hoping.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki did note, however, that a decision on student-loan relief will be made before payments are set to resume at the end of August and Republicans hope that decision will be putting borrowers back into repayment.

“The majority of Americans do not have college degrees,” Braun said in a statement. “Why should they be forced to pick up the tab for college degrees in the name of pandemic relief? This transfer of wealth is not a move to ‘advance equity,’ but rather a taxpayer handout to appease far-left activists.”

Read More: GOP lawmakers want to block Biden from canceling student debt and extending the payment

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