Senate passes bill to shut down Biden’s student loan bailout

The US Senate defied President Biden on Thursday, voting to pass a bill that would block Biden’s student loan forgiveness program.

The president has promised that he will veto the legislation.

The US Senate defied President Biden on Thursday, voting to pass a bill that would block Biden’s student loan forgiveness program.

President Biden’s program would give up to $20,000 to select American graduates as payment towards their student loan debt. 

Coming just days after the US House of Representatives passed the same bill, the Senate voted 52-46 in favor of the legislation, with two Democrats and one Independent joining the majority Republicans.

Although the bill will now be sent to Biden for his signature, the president has promised that he will veto the legislation.

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Joe Manchin of West Virginia, one of the two Democrats to vote against the bill, said in a statement that the United States “simply cannot afford to add another $400 Billion to the national debt.”

Other Senators voted in favor of the bill on more ideological grounds.

“It is fundamentally unfair to expect taxpayers with zero student debt to cover the cost of someone else’s degree,” Texas Senator John Cornyn said of the bailout in a Senate debate.

“Individuals in debt made the decision to borrow the money and they alone will reap the benefits of that degree, whether it’s in the form of increased compensation or opportunities,” he said. “In the meantime, this is irresponsible overreach at its finest.”

President Biden’s loan forgiveness program has also recently been blocked in the Supreme Court, pending a challenge from six different states, including Nebraska.

Arguments for Biden v. Nebraska were held in February, and the final ruling is expected to come out this month. 

In a Wall Street Journal opinion article, Nebraska’s Attorney General Mike Hilgers wrote that President Biden wrongly used a decades-old law that authorized the President to eliminate the student loan debt of people serving in the military for defense in the event of national emergency.

According to Hilgers, in order to satisfy the legal condition of a “national emergency”, President Biden used the pretext of the COVID-19 pandemic to legitimize his program under the law. 

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“The law applies only when relief is necessary ‘in connection with a war or other military operation or national emergency,’” he wrote. “The White House says the pandemic is a national emergency, so the president has the authority to act—an argument that seems pretextual ... [H]is administration committed to ending the [COVID-19 Pandemic] state of emergency on May 11.”

Hilgers concluded, “The president can’t have it both ways. He can’t tell the country the pandemic is over while claiming that it justifies this unilateral action.”