The contentious debate over student debt relief continues as Senate Democrats move to formally challenge President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 of debt per borrower.
On Wednesday, the Senate narrowly passed a procedural motion that starts debate – the first formal pushback from the President’s plan since it was unveiled last August. With a 51-46 vote, several Republicans joined with moderate Democrats to move forward on the rebuke of the signature effort.
The Senate is now poised to vote on whether to pass the resolution and repeal Biden’s debt cancellation program. Should it pass with a simple majority, the White House has promised that the President would veto the bill.
With Republicans nearly uniformly opposed to mass student loan forgiveness, the vote was the first formal pushback on Biden’s plan from centrist Democrats who have previously expressed unease. Democratic senators Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Jon Tester (Mont.), and independent Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) all voted to support the procedural motion.
The House voted on the resolution last week, passing it on a nearly party-line vote with the support of most Republicans and a pair of Democratic lawmakers. However, with neither the House nor the Senate winning enough votes to override a presidential veto, it is unlikely that the resolution will become law.
Despite the Wednesday’s vote, the debate over Biden’s debt cancellation program is far from over. Advocates for student debt relief argue that Congress should instead focus on economic policies that improve access to higher education, increasing the nation’s long-term economic prospects. On the other hand, opponents of large-scale debt forgiveness point out the economic uncertainty that would come with such a policy.
Funny didn’t hear about this one in the news from the media.