Republican lawmaker introduces bill to block Biden’s student loan debt relief

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) has announced a bill that will block President Joe Biden’s proposed plan to offer debt relief via forgiveness of promised payments on the part of students. 

According to a report by Fox Business, the Tennessee Republican plans to introduce the bill, saying that the “relief” plan does nothing more than shift the debt burden to those who didn’t promise to pay it back.

“There’s a lot of people out there that took out loans and, you know, maybe didn’t get their dream job, but don’t pay them back,” DesJarlais told FOX Business. “So to somehow decide that they no longer need to have skin in the game, it kind of disincentivizes people from succeeding, in my opinion.”

DesJarlais’s bill is similar to a measure put forward by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC), Tim Scott (R-SC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Thom Tillis (R-NC).

However, DeJarlais’ House bill has some differences from the senators’ endeavor, in that it is more concise and changes the date of possible exemptions to cover regulations “as in effect on” Mar. 12, 2020, rather than the other bill’s date of May 11, 2022.

The bill’s most draconian clause prohibits the secretaries of Education and Treasury, as well as the attorney general, from taking any action relating to student loan debt forgiveness other than those authorized by the Higher Education Act of 1965.

DesJarlais disagrees that student loan forgiveness may improve the economy since it simply shifts the debt burden from borrowers to other taxpayers.

“It may help those people who are irresponsible, but the ones that are out there working and paying taxes — now they’re going to be saddled with the burden of, if you want to call these other people’s mistakes or borrowed money management,” DesJarlais argued.

This bill will have a widespread impact on both direct and blanket loan forgiveness as well as effecting incentive programs.

“There’s an awful lot of scholarship programs out there are going to have one now that you can actually go to college and trade schools for free … There can be maybe some incentive programs where you work off the debt or some of those within the government right now,” he continued.

“But just erasing somebody that because they weren’t able to handle the responsibility they took on, I think is certainly the wrong approach.”

The Agency of Education stated on Wednesday that it would revoke $5.8 billion in full debt discharges for 560,000 borrowers who attended a Corinthian Colleges-owned or operated institution, the “biggest single loan discharge” in department history.

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