As President Joe Biden considers some type of student loan forgiveness, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis called the idea of making blue collar workers pay off someone else’s higher education debt “wrong.”
DeSantis slammed loan forgiveness on Friday as a backwards concept that punishes working class people by forcing them to absorb debt that isn’t theirs for advanced degrees, Florida Politics reports.
“This student debt that’s out there, almost 60% of it is graduate school debt,” the Sunshine State governor said. “These are people like doctors and lawyers, people that are getting Masters’ and Ph.D.’s and all this other stuff.”
“You know, my view is why would you make a truck driver or a waitress or a construction worker pay off the debt for somebody that did a Ph.D. program in gender studies?” he continued. “That’s wrong.”
DeSantis’ comments come after the president dismissed a question from a reporter on Thursday about plans to forgive $50,000 of student loan debt.
“I am not considering $50,000 debt reduction but I am in the process of taking a hard look on whether or not there will be additional debt forgiveness,” Biden said at the White House. “I’ll have an answer on that in the next couple weeks.”
Payments for federal student loans are currently paused, with a moratorium in place through August, however, Biden is feeling the pressure from Democrats to move ahead with a plan to cancel student loan debt.
More than $1.6 trillion is owed by 43 million borrowers, and seven million Americans have defaulted, according to the Associated Press.
Canceling student debt is an issue that could shore up the Democrat party’s popularity with younger and more highly educated voters ahead of November’s crucial midterm elections, when Democrats are widely expected to receive a thrashing from voters.
On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said shifts in policy are coming and Biden “would make a decision about any cancellation of student debt before the conclusion of that pause on student loans” in August.
Any policy announcements from the White House will likely be criticized by congressional Republicans, who, like DeSantis, say loan forgiveness isn’t fair.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., has co-authored a bill designed to prevent Biden from canceling student loan debt.
Called the Stop Reckless Student Loan Action Act of 2022, the legislation states that the executive branch “abused” its authority to pause student loan payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. If passed, it would limit how long the administration can pause payments and add congressional oversight to the process.
“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 obligation,” Thune said in a statement.
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