Washington: President Joe Biden vowed to push ahead with a new plan to provide student loan relief for millions of borrowers while blaming Republican “hypocrisy” for triggering the day's Supreme Court decision that wiped out his original plan. Biden said payment requirements for student loans would resume in coming weeks, but that he would work under the authority of the Higher Education Act to begin a new program designed to ease borrowers' threat of default if they fall behind over the next year.
Hours after the Supreme Court ruling, Biden commented from the White House, trying to stay on the political offensive even as the ruling undermined a key promise to young voters who will be vital to his 2024 reelection campaign.
Biden delivered most of his remarks in a measured tone but then raised his voice at the end when a reporter asked if he had given borrowers false hope. “I didn't give any false hope,” he said heatedly. “The Republicans snatched away the hope that they were given.” Ticking off what he said were billions of dollars in benefits to the well-to-do under the Trump administration, he said, “These Republican officials just couldn't bear the thought of providing relief for working class, middle class Americans.” “The hypocrisy of Republican elected officials is stunning," he said.
Top administration officials said they had met for weeks to discuss how to handle the Supreme Court's expected reversal of Biden's original plan. Electoral consequences aside, progressive Democrats in Congress and activists clamored for the White House to offer a swift and substantial response to the court's decision.
Natalia Abrams, president and founder of the Student Debt Crisis Center, said the responsibility falls “squarely” on Biden's shoulders. “The president possesses the power, and must summon the will, to secure the essential relief that families across the nation desperately need,” Abrams said in a statement.
Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, one of her party's leading voices on the left, said, “The president has more tools to cancel student debt — and he must use them." The GOP has long argued that repaying the student loans is a fairness issue, and they celebrated the ruling. Betsy DeVos, who served as secretary of education under President Donald Trump, called Biden's original plan “deeply unfair to the majority of Americans who don't have student loans.”