Student Loan Borrowers Gather To Tell President Biden To Cancel Student Debt

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In a bipartisan vote on Thursday, the Senate passed a resolution to block President Biden’s student loan relief plan, which would cancel up to $20,000 in debt for tens of millions of Americans. While Biden has vowed to veto the resolution, borrowers and advocates for student loan forgiveness reacted to the news with anger and worry about the future of debt relief.

“I am so f****** disgusted right now,” said Astra Taylor, co-founder of the Debt Collective, on Twitter. “Once again, this is likely heading for a Biden veto. Good! But we can't be complacent,” she added.

What Does the Resolution Do?

The resolution is troubling, Taylor explained, because it would do more than just block student debt relief. According to a report from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC), the resolution would also undo more than 2 million borrowers’ progress toward debt relief through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF);  reinstate more than 260,000 student loans that have already been canceled by the PSLF; and roll back the current student loan repayment pause.

Why Are Borrowers Angry?

On Reddit, commenters expressed frustration at the resolution’s hypocrisy, taking aim at bipartisan bills like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Although the plan was meant to support small businesses through the pandemic, billions of dollars of PPP loans went to the ultra-rich, including wealthy celebrities like Khloe Kardashian. Even still, the government has at least partially forgiven 92% of loans, according to an NPR analysis.

“I’m just waiting for them to show me how ‘the people’ will have to pay for this but not have to pay for the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans, bank bailouts, etc.,” one Redditor commented.

Responding to Thursday's vote, another Redditor wrote, “Damn, I should've just gotten a PPP loan.”

Infographic: Americans Owe $1.75 Trillion in Student Debt | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Jon Tester voted for the resolution, joining Republican Senators and Independent Sen. Krysten Sinema, a former Democrat. Two Senators, Democrats Michael Bennet and Mark Warner, abstained.

If enacted, the resolution would cause “irreparable damage,” said SBPC’s Executive Director Mike Pierce.

“Today’s vote makes crystal clear exactly who stood up and fought to protect the economic livelihoods of millions of people with student loan debt — and who schemed to keep them drowning in the debt despair of our nation’s student loan crisis,” Pierce said in a statement. “The American people are watching and expect President Biden to keep his promise to veto this horrendous bill and deliver on his promise of student loan debt relief once and for all.”

What's the Future of Student Debt?

Even if Biden does veto the resolution as he’s expected tothe Supreme Court is likely to rule against the president’s student debt relief plan in June or early July. Student loan payments are also expected to resume in August, a concession that Democrats made in the debt ceiling deal.

“I am definitely stressed,” a Redditor said of the upcoming payments. Even though they recently found a better-paying job, they write that they anticipate having to spend an extra $500 a month on loans. And after a rent increase and the added burden of loans, “the extra money is basically all eaten up now.”

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