(The Center Square) – U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, calls President Joe Biden’s decision to transfer student loan debt from borrowers to taxpayers a “dramatic overreach of his authority” and a “slap in the face to every hardworking person in Eastern Washington who will now have to foot the bill.”
“While pretending the president can make debt disappear with the stroke of a pen may sound nice, it’s a pie-in-the-sky belief that fundamentally defies basic economics,” said McMorris Rodgers in a statement. “Families are already paying an extra $500 per month thanks to record-high inflation, and adding $300 billion to the deficit will only make things worse. The American people cannot afford Democrats spending like kids in a candy store.”
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She pointed to a U.S. Census Bureau finding that Biden’ debt forgiveness plan benefits households earning four times the median income on the east side of the state.
On Wednesday, Biden announced that he will via executive order forgive $10,000 in federal student debt for most borrowers. The president will cancel up to $20,000 for recipients of Pell Grants.
The White House estimates that at least 9 million borrowers could have their debt entirely cleared by Biden’s plan.
McMorris Rodgers said Biden’s debt transfer is expected by economists to cost taxpayers between $300 billion and $980 billion over the next 10 years.
In addition to loan forgiveness, the president has also extended the payment pause on most federal student loans for the seventh and final time through Dec. 31, according to a tweet he sent out Aug. 24. Payments on the loans were expected to resume in September.
“Taking out loans to pursue a college degree is a personal choice. Part of making that decision is accepting responsibility for repaying the money you borrowed,” said McMorris Rodgers. “Passing the burden of paying this debt to taxpayers–who either already paid off their loans or never took on any in the first place–is unfair to those who played by the rules and will only lead to more inflation and higher costs for those who can least afford them.”
She said 70% of Biden’s debt relief will go to households in the top 60% of earners.
“The goal should not be giving handouts to highly educated borrowers on the backs of everyone else,” she said.
The goal of federal officials should be to lower the cost of higher education for all Americans, which has climbed nearly 200% over the last four years, said McMorris Rodgers.
“Transferring student debt does nothing to curtail the runaway cost of higher education and emboldens colleges to continue hiking tuition,” she said.
She added that the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has predicted that student loan debt is expected to return to its current level of $1.6 trillion in just four years.