- President Joe Biden vetoed a GOP-led effort to block his student debt relief.
- An unlikely two-thirds majority in the House and Senate is needed to overturn his veto.
- The Supreme Court is also due to consider the legality of Biden’s plan by the end of June.
President Joe Biden signed a veto on Wednesday, blocking a GOP-led measure to overturn student debt-relief measures that would see recipients have up to $20,000 of debt wiped.
The bill, reintroduced in February, was passed by both the House and the Senate as of last week, with Biden promising to veto it if it crossed his desk.
As well as blocking the debt relief, the bill would halt the pandemic-era student loan payment pause, first implemented by former President Donald Trump, and which would otherwise continue until the fall.
In a video posted to Twitter of Biden signing the veto, he said: “I’m not going to back down on my efforts to help tens of millions of working and middle-class families.”
—President Biden (@POTUS) June 7, 2023
Biden’s debt-relief plan, targeted by the bill, would forgive $10,000 in student debt, or up to $20,000 for those who have received a Pell Grant, for borrowers making under $125,000 a year.
The plan is estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to cost taxpayers around $400 billion over a 40-year period.
In the video, Biden added: “Some of the same members of Congress who want to cut student aid personally received loans to keep their small business afloat during the pandemic.”
He also noted that the same lawmakers had also backed tax cuts for the wealthy.
“But when it comes to hard-working Americans trying to get ahead, dealing with student debt relief, that’s where they drew the line,” he said.
Lawmakers who accepted pandemic loans include Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, and Kevin Hern.
Conservatives have argued that the debt-relief measure is unfair on people who didn’t go to college but still have debts.
“What about the man who skipped college but is paying off the loan on his work truck, or the woman who worked her way through school and is now struggling to pay off her mortgage under Biden’s economy?” wrote Sens. Chuck Grassley and Bill Cassidy back in May.
A two-thirds majority in the House and Senate is needed to override Biden’s veto, which is unlikely to be reached even with the handful of Democrats who originally helped the bill to cross the line in both houses.
But despite Biden’s veto, the debt-relief measure is not home and dry. The Supreme Court has been hearing arguments as to its legality thanks to a pair of conservative-backed lawsuits, and is expected to issue a decision by the end of June.