Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and 21 other Republican governors are calling on President Joe Biden to withdraw his student loan forgiveness plan immediately.
A letter from the Republican Governors Association released by the Cox administration Tuesday says the plan redistributes some $600 billion in student loan debt to the vast majority of taxpayers.
“Simply put, your plan rewards the rich and punishes the poor,” the governors wrote.
Biden announced in late August that federal student loan borrowers would qualify for up to $10,000 in loan forgiveness while Pell Grant recipients were eligible for an additional $10,000 of debt relief.
Under the plan, relief would be extended to borrowers earning under $125,000 per year or $250,000 per year for a married couple filing taxes jointly.
The GOP governors’ letter notes that just 16% to 17% of Americans have federal student loan debt, yet the plan shifts the burden to working Americans.
“Shifting the burden of debt from the wealthy to working Americans has a regressive impact that harms lower-income families. Borrowers with the most debt, such as $50,000 or more, almost exclusively have graduate degrees, meaning hourly workers will pay off the master’s and doctorate degrees of high-salaried lawyers, doctors and professors,” the letter states.
It continues, “What’s more, the top 20% of earning households hold $3 in student debt for every $1 held by the bottom quintile, generating a lopsided reality where the wealthy benefit at the expense of the working.”
According to the letter, Biden lacks authority to “wield unilateral action to usher in a sweeping student loan cancellation plan, a position shared by leaders of your party.”
The letter quotes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., saying, “People think that the president of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not. He can postpone, he can delay, but he does not have that power. That has to be an act of Congress.”
The letter says college may not be the right choice for every American, but for students who took out loans, “it was their decision: able adults and willing borrowers who knowingly agreed to the terms of the loan and consented to taking on debt in exchange for taking classes.”
The governors wrote that “a high-cost degree is not the key to unlocking the American Dream — hard work and personal responsibility is. For many borrowers, they worked hard, made sacrifices, and paid off their debt.”
Still others chose hard work and a paycheck rather than more school and a loan.
“Americans who did not choose to take out student loans themselves should certainly not be forced to pay for the student loans of others. At a time when inflation is sky high due to your unprecedented tax-and-spend agenda, your plan will encourage more student borrowing, incentivize higher tuition rates, and drive up inflation even further, negatively impacting every American,” the GOP governors wrote.
Rather than addressing the rising cost of tuition for higher education or working to lower interest rates for student loans, “your plan kicks the can down the road and makes today’s problems worse for tomorrow’s students,” the governors wrote.