Biden's student-debt relief plans will once again face GOP challenges when Congress returns this fall
- Biden formally launched the new income-driven repayment plan, known as the SAVE plan.
- GOP lawmakers Foxx and Cassidy are planning to introduce legislation to overturn the plan.
When Congress comes back in session next month, taking on President Joe Biden's student-debt relief is on some lawmakers' agendas.
After the Supreme Court struck down Biden's plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for federal borrowers, his administration announce it would be trying again for relief using a different law. It also announced it would be implementing a new income-driven repayment plan, known as the SAVE plan, that would cut undergraduate payments in half and ensure any borrower making $15 per hour and under would have $0 monthly payments.
The Education Department formally launched the application for the new plan on Tuesday, and borrowers can start applying for it before federal payments resume in October. However, following the department's announcement of that plan in June, Rep. Virginia Foxx and Sen. Bill Cassidy — top Republicans on the House and Senate education committees, respectively — blasted the targeted relief.
"President Biden's student loan scheme is still illegal and does not forgive debt but instead transfers it from those who willingly took on the debt to those who never went to college or sacrificed to pay their student loans," Cassidy said in a statement at the time. "Just like Biden's student debt transfer scheme, this IDR rule is deeply unfair to the 87 percent of Americans who currently have no student loans and will now have to foot the bill for someone else's debt."
As Politico first reported on Tuesday, Cassidy and Foxx are planning to turn their statements into legislation. Spokespeople for both lawmakers confirmed to Insider that they will introduce bills in the House and Senate to overturn the SAVE plan. A spokesperson said the legislation will use the Congressional Review Act, which is a fast track tool Congress can use to overturn final rules put in place by federal agencies. The GOP lawmakers previously used that same tool to overturn Biden's broad debt relief plan, and while it passed both the House and Senate, Biden vetoed the legislation — and he could do so again should Congress pass any bill to block the SAVE plan.
Amid the Republican opposition to the SAVE plan, though, some Democratic lawmakers lauded Biden's efforts to make payments more affordable for millions of borrowers. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Tuesday that "Biden's SAVE plan helps Americans with student debt by capping interest growth and lowering monthly payments. That's real money back in people's pockets. Republicans in Congress are trying to repeal this relief. I'm going to fight their effort each step of the way."
In addition to repayment reforms for borrowers, the Education Department is also in the process of implementing broad debt relief again using the Higher Education Act of 1965. This process takes time because the law requires the administration to go through the negotiated rulemaking process, which includes public hearings and multiple negotiation sessions with stakeholders. But with legal threats and conservative opposition to the plan, it's unclear when borrowers can expect to see that relief.
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