Congress shitcans Biden student loan forgiveness?
Next up the Supremes.
Voting Down Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness
Majorities in both houses of Congress reject his write-off.
By The Editorial Board, WSJ
Updated June 1, 2023 8:06 pm ET
The Supreme Court will soon rule on the legality of President Biden’s unilateral decision to write down $400 billion in student-loan debt. If anyone doubts why the President dodged Congress on the issue, recent votes make clear that he would have lost.
The Democratic Senate voted Thursday, 52-46, to endorse a Congressional resolution to overturn the Biden write-off. That followed a 218-203 vote in the House a week earlier to do the same.
With a wave of his hand last summer, Mr. Biden canceled $10,000 to $20,000 in debt for some 40 million borrowers, though he had earlier conceded it was “pretty questionable” that he had the power to do so. Nancy Pelosi, then House Speaker, also said two years ago that “it would take an act of Congress, not an executive order, to cancel student loan debt.”
Who cares about the law when an election is nigh? The White House claims it has sweeping authority to forgive student debt under an obscure 2003 law to help veterans, and this is the claim the High Court is judging. But Mr. Biden’s transparent political goal was to buy the votes of young people who have student debt. While the write-down might have played well in Berkeley, Calif., it rankles most Americans who didn’t go to college or who sacrificed to repay their loans.
That may explain why Democrats Jon Tester (Montana) and Joe Manchin (West Virginia), as well as independent Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona) joined Republicans on Thursday to vote down the write-down. Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a majority of both chambers can vote to repeal a rule, though it still needs the President’s signature.
Mr. Biden has vowed to veto the resolution, but the bipartisan vote has the political utility of forcing Democrats who present themselves as moderates and defenders of the working class to go on the record to support the President’s wealth transfer to mostly well-off Americans. Here’s looking at you, Catherine Cortez Masto (Nevada) and Bob Casey (Pennsylvania).
This is the fourth bipartisan CRA resolution that Mr. Biden will have vetoed, which shows whose views are in the minority. The others were repealing the Waters of the United States rule, a Labor Department rule on ESG investing, and a suspension on solar tariffs.
Messrs. Tester and Manchin and Ms. Sinema are up for re-election next year, so they may be hoping the student-loan vote will give them political cover. In any case, the resolution sends a resounding message to the public and the Justices that the write-down couldn’t pass the democratic way. Let’s hope the Supreme Court sends a similar message to the President.