If you have a massive student loan and you're wondering if president Joe Biden's plan to forgive up to $20,000 of it for tens of millions of people is still happening, the answer is yes… maybe… probably not?
This week, Biden vetoed a bill that passed through Congress which would have eliminated the debt relief plan. He Tweeted why, reminding everyone that this was a key promise in his presidential campaign.
Surprisingly, even though the bill was largely supported by Republicans, it passed the Democrat-led Senate with votes from Democrats Joe Manchin and Jon Tester plus independent Krysten Sinema.
Congressional Republicans led an effort to pass a bill blocking my Administration’s plan to provide up to $20,000 in student debt relief to working and middle class Americans.— President Biden (@POTUS) June 7, 2023
I won’t back down on helping hardworking folks.
That’s why I’m vetoing this bill. pic.twitter.com/ZeYEm4LOjz
Here's the thing, though: Biden's victory may be short-lived. The Supreme Court is reviewing two cases involving student loans and could, on its own, overturn the whole plan. Up to now, the Court's review has paused debt relief anyway. The Court seemed skeptical about it a few months ago and if it does strike down Biden's plan, it sure sounds like the administration isn't going to have a plan in place to do it again.
Instead, the Wall Street Journal reports, Biden's administration might try to help borrowers get back on payment plans after collection resumes (it's been paused since 2020). "Their goal is to be prepared to respond to the potential blocking of the program with an explanation of the other ways the administration is trying to assist borrowers. Biden hasn’t yet signed off on a post-Supreme Court-decision strategy," the Journal wrote.
It sounds like whatever the court decides, payments will begin 60 days after its ruling (the recent debt ceiling bill also calls for that) and that could cause problems for borrowers who still aren't on their feet post-pandemic.
ABC News reports that resuming payments is going to hit the most vulnerable Americans, many of whom have stopped budgeting for student loan payments, particularly hard and that they are likely to be preyed upon by scammers and programs promising to help. All the confusion about whether student-loan forgiveness is actually happening doesn't make things any easier for them.
It sure sounds like Congress, the Supreme Court, and even the Biden administration, are all playing politics with the future of millions of Americans. The argument that some Americans shouldn't pay for the debt of others doesn't really wash in a country where we're taxed for military overspending and covering $2.4 trillion (yes trillion) in payment errors that the government committed. The debt-ceiling bill, by the way, will cost each state $1.3 trillion.
The $30 billion that will pay for debt relief seems like pocket change compared to those types of government spending, but the arguments against it read like spite against those trying to make the country better by getting educated, and pushback against Biden because he's the Democrat in charge and striking it down would be a defeat for him.
If you're against loan forgiveness, you're favoring small thinking over people's futures. Unfortunately, Congress and the Supreme Court have shown plenty of times that short-term spite often wins out over long-term vision.