Thursday, the Senate passed a bill that would get rid of the Biden administration’s plan to help people with student loans. The president has said he will veto the bill.
The relief plan, which would let tens of millions of Americans get rid of $20,000 in government student loan debt, has been stuck in the courts for months. By early July, the Supreme Court is likely to make a decision that could stop the plan.
The latest thing Congress has done to stop the plan is mostly just a show of disapproval.
The bill was proposed by Republicans using the Congressional Review Act. This law lets Congress overturn executive orders and only needs a simple majority in both chambers to pass. But to reverse a presidential veto, you still need a two-thirds majority, which Republicans aren’t likely to have.
Last week, the House passed the motion with a vote of 218-203. The Senate vote on Thursday was 52-46.
Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana, who are both moderate Democrats, stood with the Republicans and voted for the bill. Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an independent, also voted in favor.
Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Mark Warner, D-Va., did not vote. Both of them have been outspoken foes of the plan, saying that it just moved the costs to other people.
Republicans have been strongly against the plan from the start, calling it a very expensive handout. The independent Congressional Budget Office said it would cost taxpayers about $400 billion.
The White House said in a statement after Thursday’s vote that the motion was a “unprecedented attempt to hurt our historic economic recovery.”
Student Loan Repayment is Still Set to Resume in Late August
Thursday, the Senate did something else about student loan debt. They passed a joint bill to raise the limit on the national debt. The date that government student loan payments, which have been put on hold since March 2020, will start again is set by this new law.
After August 29, everyone who has taken out a government student loan will have to start making payments again. Also, interest will start to be added to their loans again on that date.
After five delays, this seems to be the last one. The debt deal says that the education secretary can’t make any more extensions without approval from Congress.
About 43 million borrowers will be affected by the restart. Together, they face more than $1 trillion in student loan debt. In reality, though, the debt deal hasn’t changed much about the way loans are handled right now.
Back in November, the Biden administration said it planned to end the pause at the end of August, or at the latest 60 days after the Supreme Court made a decision on Biden’s larger plan to reduce student debt.
A Supreme Court Decision on the Student Loan Relief Plan is Expected Any Day Now
With Biden’s veto of the Senate’s stand-alone bill, the Supreme Court will decide what will happen to the larger government student loan debt relief.
Biden first talked about plans to forgive up to $20,000 of college debt for anyone who got a Pell Grant and up to $10,000 of debt for government borrowers who make less than $125,000.
Because of a lawsuit filed by a group of conservative states who say the president overstepped his presidential powers, the plan was put on hold for a short time.
The Biden administration says that the program is covered by the HEROES Act, a law from 2003 that gives the Department of Education the power to forgive student loan debt during a national emergency.
In February, the court’s six conservative judges were not sure about what Biden had to say. The judge is likely to decide the case in June or early July.