House Education Committee Markup to Reverse Debt Relief Plan

On Wednesday, May 10, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a markup on H.J. Res. 45, a resolution to reverse the federal student loan payment pause and block President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan. The resolution would use authority under the Congressional Review Act to eliminate the Administration’s plans for student loan forgiveness. The resolution passed on a party-line vote, 24-18.

Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said in her opening statement, “If passed through both chambers, the joint resolution being debated today would nullify President Biden’s radical plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt by executive fiat. For two years, President Biden has attempted to push a free college agenda through radical regulations including income-driven repayment, executive actions like blanket cancellation, and his permanent pause on repayment. Student loan ‘forgiveness’ is nothing more than a transfer of wealth from those who willingly took on debt to those who did not or had the grit to pay off their loans.” You can view Chair Foxx’s full opening remarks here.

In response, Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) focused on the importance of providing debt relief and making college more affordable. Ranking Member Scott said in his opening remarks, “As you have mentioned, Madam Chair, we need to look forward and we have introduced legislation, such as the LOAN Act, which lowers the cost of college by significantly increasing the Pell Grant and reducing the interest on student loans. Those are two of the major factors in that bill, so that would help students in the future. The bottom line is that we have a responsibility to strengthen support for those seeking a college degree—not because everybody should be forced to get one—but, for those who want a college degree, they should have access to that opportunity.” You can view Ranking Member Scott’s full opening remarks here.

CGS joined 260 organizations in response to the Congressional Review Act. The letter states, “These CRA efforts would immediately force tens of millions of borrowers into abrupt and unplanned repayment with devastating effects, including adding thousands of dollars of payments and interest onto their loan balances. It would also force the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to unwind loans forgiven under Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs for nurses, educators, servicemembers, and hundreds of thousands of other public service workers across the country.” You can view the full letter here.

On Tuesday, May 9, the U.S. Department of Education announced that due to the overhaul of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, more than 615,000 borrowers had the remaining balance of their loans forgiven. As mentioned in previous Washington Insights and Highlights Newsletters, the PSLF program allows public sector workers, who have paid their student loans for the last 10 years and have made 120 payments, to have the remaining balance of their student loans forgiven.