Nearly two dozen Republican governors sent a letter to President Biden on Monday objecting to his student-loan forgiveness plan as a legally dubious way to shift the debt burden off wealthier professionals and onto poorer working families.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and the others said Mr. Biden will fuel inflation and accelerate borrowing with his push to cancel $10,000 in student debt for borrowers who earn less than $125,000 per year and $20,000 in debt for those who received Pell Grants.
They said the power to forgive debt rests with Congress, not the president, and the plan is unfair.
“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 read. “Simply put, your plan rewards the rich and punishes the poor.”
Mr. Biden has defended his plan, saying it will level the playing field for those saddled with insurmountable debt and level the racial wage gap by offering extra relief for Pell Grant borrowers who are more than twice as likely to be Black.
Political analysts say the plan could rally young midterm voters who soured on Mr. Biden and Democrats earlier in the year, though it could upset other voters who paid off loans the old-fashioned way or forfeited a shot at college altogether.
“A high-cost degree is not the key to unlocking the American Dream — hard work and personal responsibility is,” the governors wrote. “For many borrowers, they worked hard, made sacrifices, and paid off their debt. For many others, they 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.”
The governors said the plan will exacerbate underlying problems, driving tuition rates and borrowing even higher.
“Rather than addressing the rising cost of tuition for higher education or working to lower interest rates for student loans,” they wrote, “your plan kicks the can down the road and makes today’s problems worse for tomorrow’s students.”