Wednesday, President Joe Biden vowed he wasn’t “going to back down” when it came to forgiving the college debt of millions of Americans across the country and vetoed a bill that would have scrapped his $400 billion student loan handout.
“Folks, Republicans in Congress led an effort to pass a bill blocking my administration’s plan to provide up to $10,000 in student debt relief and up to $20,000 for borrowers that received a Pell Grant. Nearly 90% of those relief dollars go to people making less than $75,000 a year,” said Biden in a video posted to Twitter.
“I’m not going to back down on my efforts to back down on my efforts to help tens of millions of working and middle-class families. That’s why I’m going to veto this bill,” said the president.
Although he railed against Republicans, President Biden didn’t mention the two Democratic senators, Montana Senator Jon Tester and Joe Manchin of Virginia, who joined Republicans who voted to advance the bill last week. Senator Kyrsten Sinema, an Independent, also voted in favor, with the final tally amounting to 52-46.
President Biden also did not mention Democrat Representatives Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington and Jared Golden of Maine, who joined the GOP in voting for the bill in the House of Representatives. The final tally in the House was 218-203.
The president continued, saying that one of the members who voted for the bill had “personally received loans to keep their small business afloat during the pandemic” and supported “huge tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.”
“But when it comes to hardworking Americans trying to get ahead, dealing with student debt relief, that’s where they drew the line. I think it’s wrong,” said Biden.
“Let me make something really clear; I’m never going to apologize for helping working and middle-class Americans as they recover from this pandemic. Never,” the president added before vetoing the bill.
Biden’s veto marks his fifth since taking office
The veto marks President Biden’s fifth since he assumed office.
Under the program, announced last year, the president announced he would cancel up to $10,000 in student loans for people making less than $125,000 per year or as much as $20,000 for students who received Pell Grants. The program was expected to cost the government over $400 billion in lost debt payments; however, it was put on hold after a court blocked it under the Congressional Review Act. The act allows Congress to reject an executive branch policy as long as the Senate and House pass a resolution disapproving of that policy.
With the partisan nature of the votes in the Senate and House, it’s not likely Congress will be able to find a two-thirds majority needed in each chamber to override Biden’s veto.