In light of the close races that Democrats are expected to face in the next midterm elections in swing states, many are moving away from President Joe Biden’s proposal to forgive $10,000 in student loan debt for every borrower.
Although some left-leaning senators have proposed wiping out the debt of up to $50,000 per borrower, White House officials debated the issue for months before settling on the $10,000 figure this week. Democrats are openly protesting the debt cancellation program in the midst of heated electoral campaigns.
Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH), who is fighting for reelection, stated in a statement, “We all know the cost of higher education is crushing families… but this announcement by President Biden is no way to make policy and sidesteps Congress and our oversight and fiscal responsibilities.” He added that the legislation is necessary for any strategy to reduce student loan debt and that the plan needs to be more narrowly focused and self-financing to avoid further increasing the deficit.
As per Gallup, 40% of independents think well of Biden despite his poor 44% approval rating. The CNBC poll found that 59% of Americans are worried that canceling student debt “would make inflation worse,” which comes at a bad time for the Democrats, who are trying to distance themselves from Biden’s particularly terrible economic record.
Pappas stated that the high cost clearly limits alternatives offered to students, and the President’s plan doesn’t tackle that fundamental issue. “Ultimately, we must ensure everyone has the chance to further their education and gain the knowledge and skills they need to thrive, and I’ll continue to make that a priority.”
Democrat Tim Ryan, who is challenging Republican J.D. Vance for Ohio’s Senate seat, also voted against canceling student loans.
Tim Ryan, running for #OHSEN puts out a statement critical of Biden’s student loan plan pic.twitter.com/L85ZpReR5T
— Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani) August 24, 2022
“As someone who is paying off his family’s student loans, I know that the prices of higher education are too high,” Ryan said in a statement. Adding that waiving debt for those who are on a path to financial stability sends the wrong signal to the millions of Ohioans without such a degree laboring just as hard to make ends meet, and there’s no question that a college education should focus on creating opportunities.
St. Anselm College reports that Pappas’ favorability among Republicans is down to 42% ahead of the Republican primary contest on September 13, while an Emerson College poll gives Vance a 3% advantage over Ryan in Ohio. In the 2020 election, President Biden won New Hampshire by seven points but lost Ohio to former President Trump by eight.
Re-election-seeking Democrats aren’t the only Democrats who have shunned the policy of canceling student loans. Prominent Democratic economists have also rejected the plan.
“Pouring about half a trillion dollars of gasoline on the inflationary fire that is already burning is dangerous,” Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under the Obama administration, said. Similarly, former Obama and Clinton Treasury Secretary and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers have remarked that the program “consumes resources that may be better employed supporting individuals who did not, for whatever reason, get the chance to attend college.“