Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Tuesday criticized President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, arguing there are other ways to support student borrowers.
“I just thought that it was excessive,” Manchin said, adding that he disagrees with the announcement proposing to forgive $10,000 per student borrower for those making up to $125,000 annually. Pell Grant recipients will be eligible for up to $20,000 in debt cancellation.Advertisement
But Manchin said he would have taken a different course of action.
“When people were calling me from back in West Virginia, I would give them all the options they had that would reduce their loan by going to work in the federal government,” Manchin said.
He continued: “You have to earn it.”
Manchin is not the only Democrat with reservations about the plan. Democratic candidates running in competitive swing states this midterm election season have also voiced their opposition.
“As someone who’s paying off my own family’s student loans, I know the costs of higher education are too high,” said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) who is running against Trump-endorsed J.D. Vance for the U.S. Senate in November. “And while 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.”
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats, said the plan does nothing to address the root cause of student debt — college affordability.
“We should be focusing on passing my legislation to expand Pell Grants for lower-income students, targeting loan forgiveness to those in need and actually make college more affordable for working families,” Cortez Masto said.
Others, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who celebrated the decision, had pressed Biden to go even further.
“No president or Congress has done more to relieve the burden of student debt and help millions of Americans make ends meet. Make no mistake, the work will continue as we pursue every available path to address the student debt crisis, help close the racial wealth gap for borrowers, and keep our economy growing,” Schumer said.
Republicans are also reportedly planning to challenge the proposal in court, with legal experts warning this could complicate the relief efforts.
Biden took a long time to make up his mind on student debt forgiveness, with aides conceding the issue represents a political no-win, according to The Associated Press.
But his announcement made good on his campaign pledge to cancel up to $10,000 dollars of student debt.
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