GOP Lawmakers Introduce Bill Aimed at Protecting Student Loan Borrowers, Taxpayers

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Three House Republicans introduced legislation Thursday that they say aims “to streamline and improve” the system for repaying federal student loans and “to protect borrowers and taxpayers.”

Reps. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., Burgess Owens, R-Utah, and Lisa McClain, R-Mich., introduced a bill called the Federal Assistance to Initiate Repayment Act, or the FAIR Act, in response to President Joe Biden’s recent actions on student loan debt.

“Using the COVID-19 emergency status as justification, President Biden extended the payment pause for student loans half a dozen times and failed to give clear guidance to the American people on how or when a return to repayment would happen,” Foxx told The Daily Signal in an emailed statement. “Now, thanks to the Fiscal Responsibility Act, student loan payments are set to restart in October.”

Biden signed the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 into law June 3.

“Unfortunately, the [Biden] administration is still committed to forcing taxpayers to foot the bill on student loans. The nearly $300 billion Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plan results in just 2 in 10 undergraduate students fully repaying their loans,” Foxx, chairwoman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, said in the email.

The three Republican lawmakers issued a joint statement after introducing their legislation, saying in part:

The FAIR Act is a fiscally responsible, targeted response to the chaos caused by Biden’s student loan scam. This Republican solution takes important steps to fix the broken student loan system, provide borrowers with clear guidance on repayment, and protect taxpayers from the economic fallout caused by the administration’s radical free college agenda.

Last August, Biden announced plans to “forgive” $10,000 of debt for individual student loan borrowers who make less than $125,000 per year ($250,000 for households) and to $20,000 for borrowers who received a Pell Grant. 

Five Senate Republicans—Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, John Cornyn of Texas, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, and Tim Scott of South Carolina—introduced a package Wednesday called the Lowering Education Costs and Debt Act, comprised of five pieces of legislation. 

The GOP senators’ package includes measures called the College Transparency Act, the Informed Student Borrower Act, the Understanding the True Cost of College Act, the Graduate Opportunity and Affordable Loans Act, and the Streamlining Accountability and Value in Education for Students Act. 

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“Our federal higher education financing system contributes more to the problem than the solution. Colleges and universities using the availability of federal loans to increase their tuitions have left too many students drowning in debt without a path for success,” Cassidy said in a press release on those bills. 

Earlier this month, the Senate voted, mostly along partisan lines, to adopt a joint resolution aimed at blocking Biden’s plan to “forgive” some student loan debt. 

The final vote was 52-46, with Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.V.; Jon Tester, D-Mont.; and Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., voting with Republicans. Two senators did not vote. 

Cassidy and Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., had introduced the resolution March 27 in the House and the Senate. The House adopted it May 24 in a 218-203 vote. Biden vetoed the measure June 7.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule in the near future on two cases pertaining to Biden’s plan to “forgive” student loan debt. The nation’s highest court heard oral arguments in the cases in February. 

GianCarlo Canaparo and Jack Fitzhenry of The Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies criticized the Biden plan in a Nov. 15 commentary for The Daily Signal. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)

“The administration has relied on an emergency-powers law called the HEROES Act, which was passed in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks,” Canaparo and Fitzhenry wrote. “President Joe Biden claims that he can use that law to cancel student loan debt for more than 95% of all borrowers.”

The White House did not immediately respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment on this report.

Virginia Allen contributed to this report.

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The post GOP Lawmakers Introduce Bill Aimed at Protecting Student Loan Borrowers, Taxpayers appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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