President Biden has rejected a measure aimed at overturning his student debt relief plan, leaving the program’s future in the hands of the Supreme Court.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Biden responded to the efforts of congressional Republicans to pass a bill blocking his administration’s plan to provide up to $20,000 in student debt relief to working and middle-class Americans.
He affirmed his determination to assist hardworking individuals and emphasized his commitment to helping the working and middle class recover from the pandemic.
The president’s proposal, which has faced opposition from Republicans since its introduction, would affect 40 million borrowers, offering $10,000 in loan forgiveness for those earning less than $125,000 per year and $20,000 in forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients.
Overriding Biden’s veto would require a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and the Senate, a threshold that opponents of the plan cannot reach.
In his statement, Biden explained that he vetoed the measure because he is dedicated to making college affordable and providing crucial relief to borrowers as they strive to recover from the unprecedented impact of the pandemic.
The Senate passed the measure to block the plan with a 52-46 vote, and it cleared the GOP-majority House along party lines, with two Democrats joining Republicans.
The measure was introduced as a joint resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress to nullify recently implemented rules and regulations.
Such measures are not subject to the filibuster, so Senate Democrats were unable to block it, and a supermajority of 60 votes was not required for it to advance.
The Supreme Court is currently considering the plan, but the conservative majority is expected to reject it. Justices expressed skepticism during oral arguments in February regarding the Biden administration’s authority to forgive up to $20,000 in student loans.
Biden officially announced the plan in August after making student debt forgiveness a campaign promise and facing pressure from progressive groups to take action.
While progressives viewed the plan as a positive initial step towards forgiveness, moderate Democrats and Republicans raised concerns about the cost to taxpayers, estimated to be around $400 billion.
Alongside the announcement of his plan, the president also revealed the upcoming end to the pandemic-era student loan payment pause, which was implemented in March 2020 under former President Trump and subsequently extended multiple times.
The resumption of loan payments was solidified with the passage of a bipartisan debt ceiling agreement, which set a hard cutoff date of 60 days after June 30.