Forget Forgiveness: Republicans Propose Alternative Student Loan Relief

Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) and other Republicans / Getty Images
August 4, 2022

A group of Republican lawmakers put forth a proposal on Thursday that it says would relieve student debt crisis without using taxpayer dollars to fund a massive debt forgiveness program.

The Responsible Education Assistance Act would limit the amount of interest borrowers could accumulate on federal student loans to help them more effectively pay back their loans. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.), who co-sponsored the bill with Reps. Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) and Jim Banks (R., Ind.), said the bill will help in-need Americans without shifting debt onto taxpayers.

The plan serves as an alternative to plans championed by prominent Democrats such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) to forgive all outstanding student debt. The Biden administration has already mobilized so that it is prepared to implement forgiveness to millions of Americans in debt once the White House announces its plan, according to Politico. The mass forgiveness proposals would cost the federal government at least $197 billion, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Foxx told the Free Beacon it's "grossly unfair" to force Americans to bear the burden of other people's loans, especially those who already paid back loans of their own.

"Under the Biden administration’s blanket student loan forgiveness agenda, taxpayers bear the burden of paying back other people’s loans," Foxx told the Washington Free Beacon. "This is grossly unfair to the two-thirds of Americans who never went to college or those who already paid back their loans."

Experts say the Democratic proposals to forgive student loan debt fail to address the underlying issues that led to the current situation. If President Joe Biden instituted his loan forgiveness plans, Americans would hold the same amount in three years as today, the Free Beacon reported in July.

The Republican bill takes a different route: the proposal would cap interest on federal student loans after 10 years, in order to help borrowers pay down their principal. It would also cap the amount of money students could borrow from the federal government and block the secretary of education from imposing costly student loan forgiveness plans without congressional approval.

It is highly unlikely the bill will advance to the House floor as long as Democrats remain in control of the House of Representatives. The legislation, however, serves as an example of the type of legislation Republicans would put forward should they win the majority back in November.