[Congressional Record Volume 169, Number 93 (Wednesday, May 31, 2023)]
[Pages S1815-S1817]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                             Student Loans

  Ms. WARREN. Madam President, I rise today in opposition to Republican 
efforts to block President Biden's student loan debt relief plan, 
rescind the payment pause extension, and upend the lives of millions of 
hard-working Americans.
  Now, it is no surprise that Republicans have prioritized an effort to 
block the President's plan to deliver critical relief to 43 million 
working- and middle-class student loan borrowers. Republicans in 
Congress have shown time and time again that they would much rather 
deliver relief to giant corporations and protect tax cheats than help 
working Americans whose biggest sin is to try to get an education.
  I support the President's actions to help these hard-working 
Americans. But let's be very clear. The Republican plan goes far beyond 
rescinding President Biden's plan to cancel student debt. Republicans 
could have written their resolution to simply overturn debt 
cancelation. But, instead, they demanded something that is much more 
extreme. The Republican proposal would void the student loan payment 
pause that was in effect from last September through last December 
during the pandemic.
  This means that if this CRA passes, it would rescind the President's 
plan to cancel debt for families that need it most. But it also means 
that everyone--everyone--whose payment was paused would immediately owe 
4 months of back payments, plus interest. Republicans are asking 
Americans who benefited from a pause in payments to immediately pay 
back potentially thousands of dollars to Uncle Sam. Nearly 40 million 
Americans who are saving an average of $233 a month from the pause 
would be called on to cut a check to the Government for months of 
retroactive student loan

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payments, plus interest, all because they relied on the U.S. 
Government's statement that their loan payments were paused.
  This extreme Republican resolution would harm millions of hardworking 
Americans. But there is even more. By rescinding the payment pause 
extension, this Republican legislation also endangers our public 
servants: teachers, nurses, firefighters, servicemembers, and others 
who are working toward paying down their debt program through the 
Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or PSLF.
  If you are a public servant enrolled in public service loan 
forgiveness, every month of the pause counts toward your total of 120 
payments before your balance is forgiven.
  According to the Department of Education, more than 400,000 borrowers 
received Public Service Loan Forgiveness credit during September 
through December payment pause last year. This CRA would retroactively 
disqualify those months of credit toward PSLF, leaving teachers and 
nurses and firefighters further behind on their path to being debt-
  And if you are one of the 260,000 public servants around the country 
who received credit for your final payment since September of last 
year, and you finally got your student debt balance forgiven, you, 
under the Republican plan, would be at risk of seeing your relief 
clawed back and being thrown back into debt.
  Just to give an example for that: In Massachusetts, more than 5,500 
public servants across our Commonwealth could see their loan balances 
restored. So they owe the money again.
  In Louisiana, more than 3,600 of Senator Cassidy's own constituents 
could see their Public Service Loan Forgiveness taken away, and they 
would have to now pay more money.
  Republicans have tried to sell this CRA as their attempt to block 
President Biden from canceling up to $20,000 of student debt for the 
working families that need it most. And they say there is nothing more 
here to see.
  But make no mistake: Voting for this CRA is not just a vote against 
the President's student debt cancelation plan. It is also a vote to 
force nearly 40 million hardworking Americans to immediately pay back 
months of student loan payments and interest and restore an estimated 
$20 billion of student debt to the balances of tens of thousands of 
public servants.
  Regardless of your feelings about student debt cancelation, that is a 
slap in the face to middle-class families, to working families 
everywhere in this country. And that is why labor unions, civil rights 
groups, and even centrist policy organizations are fighting against the 
Republican CRA, and it is why I urge every one of my colleagues to join 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.
  Mr. CORNYN. Madam President, over the last few years, President Biden 
and Washington Democrats have unveiled a large range of socialist-
inspired policies. The ill-fated ``Build Back Broke'' plan, for 
example, would have driven up daycare costs for countless working 
families. Thankfully, that bill couldn't get enough votes to pass.
  Then there was electric vehicles socialism, which actually did become 
law as part of Democrats' misnamed Inflation Reduction Act, which, by 
the way, did not reduce inflation. So thanks to them, today families 
earning up to $300,000 a year can receive a taxpayer handout to buy an 
electric vehicle made with batteries from China. It seems like a bad 
idea to me.
  And last fall, President Biden rolled out his plan for student loan 
socialism. Over the last few years, liberal activists have called on 
Democrats to cancel student debt. But those calls were largely ignored 
until President Biden came along and decided to try it on his own. Not 
by coming to Congress and not by passing legislation, but with the 
stroke of a pen.
  Last August, he announced he would cancel student loans for millions 
of borrowers. Well, ask any family with a mortgage, a car payment, a 
credit card debt, they all understand there is no such thing as 
canceling debt. Every dollar that was borrowed will eventually have to 
be repaid by someone. It is just a matter of who that someone is. Well, 
you can look around at the person you are sitting next to. You will be 
the ones to pay it back, the taxpayer.
  Traditionally, the responsibility falls to the borrower--the person 
who agreed to repay the debt, the person who willingly took out tens of 
thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of dollars in student loans.
  The President decided to throw tradition and personal responsibility 
out the window in favor of a socialist approach where everyone chips in 
whether they want to or not. In other words, the American taxpayer. He 
said he would erase--erase--up to $20,000 in student loans for tens of 
millions of borrowers; thereby sticking taxpayers with the tab.
  Well, to state the obvious, the vast majority of Americans do not 
benefit here, because 87 percent of Americans have no student debt.
  Some people didn't go to college. Maybe they didn't want to. Maybe 
they couldn't afford it. Many worked while pursuing a degree. Many paid 
off their loans after graduating, just as they agreed to do.
  Still, President Biden expects every person without college debt to 
shoulder the cost for someone else. In total, his plan would cost 
taxpayers more than $400 billion, even though only 13 percent of 
Americans would reap the benefits.
  A college degree is not a shared experience. It is not like roads, 
hospitals, or police departments, which benefit everyone. Individuals 
in debt made the decision to borrow the money, and they alone will reap 
the benefit of that degree, whether it is in the form of increased 
compensation or other opportunities. It is fundamentally unfair to 
expect taxpayers with zero student debt to cover the cost of someone 
else's degree.
  To state the obvious, the President does not have the authority to 
stick the taxpayers with this debt. And I hope the Supreme Court rules 
on that in the near future.
  In the meantime, this is irresponsible overreach at its finest. And I 
am glad the Senate will have an opportunity to vote to overturn this 
reckless rule.
  Senators Cassidy, Ernst, and I introduced a Congressional Review Act 
resolution to overturn President Biden's student loan socialism. Our 
resolution would prevent the President from transferring the burden of 
student loans from willing borrowers to unwitting Americans. It would 
also end the pause on student loan payments--another renegade act by 
President Biden for which he has zero authority.
  This is costing Americans $5 billion a month. This first went into 
effect in March of 2020 as the pandemic took hold. Now, more than 3 
years later, it is time for borrowers to resume payment. Even President 
Biden has finally accepted how disruptive this never-ending pause is 
for our country.
  He agreed to reinstate student loan payment requirements through the 
bipartisan debt ceiling deal that will soon be voted on by the House.
  President Biden's student loan socialism is unfair, and it is 
irresponsible. And I hope it will soon be overturned by the Senate 
through this resolution.
  I want to say, again, how much I appreciate Senator Cassidy's 
leadership on this. And I encourage all our colleagues to support it.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana.
  Mr. CASSIDY. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for up 
to 8 minutes prior to the rollcall vote.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection.
  Mr. CASSIDY. Madam President, the Senate will soon vote on a 
Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval to overturn the 
Biden administration's unfair student loan schemes. These schemes 
transfer the burden of $400 billion in Federal student loans from those 
who willingly took on that debt to American taxpayers who never went to 
college and have already fulfilled their commitment to pay back their 
  The resolution would also end the pause on student loan payments 
which, by August, will cost taxpayers almost $200 billion. President 
Biden has extended this pause 6 times for a total of 31 months, far 
beyond the original justification of the ongoing pandemic.
  Make no mistake, these reckless student loan schemes do not forgive 
debt. They transfer the burden from those

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who willingly took out the loans to go to college to make more money 
when they graduated to Americans who never attended college or who 
already paid back their loans.
  These policies are as unfair as they are responsible. Where is the 
forgiveness for the guy who didn't go to college but is working to pay 
off the loan on the truck he takes to work? What about the woman who 
paid off her student loans but now struggles to afford her mortgage? Is 
the administration providing them relief? No. Instead, the 
administration would not only have them pay their bills but the bills 
of those who decided to go to college to make more money.
  President Biden's plan does nothing to address the problems that 
created the debt in the first place. It doesn't hold colleges or 
universities accountable for rising costs.
  According to the college board, in the last 30 years, tuitions and 
fees have jumped at private nonprofit colleges by 80 percent. Public 4-
year institutions have jumped 124 percent.
  According to the Center for Responsible Federal Budget, if the 
student loan transfer goes into effect, students and taxpayers would be 
back in the same situation in 5 years. In 5 years, we will be right 
back where we are now because we are not reforming that which got us 
here. And total debt will again reach $1.7 trillion.
  What is the plan for 5 years from now? The scheme also does not 
ensure that students are prepared for life after college. It creates a 
terrible moral hazard that signals to students that Federal student 
loans are not real commitments. It tells colleges that no matter how 
high they raise their prices or how low the quality of education they 
provide, the Federal Government will cover the tab, courtesy of the 
American taxpayer.
  This is not leadership. We cannot spend our way out of the problem of 
ever-increasing costs of higher education. For Americans who cannot 
afford their debt or who want a proactive approach for paying off their 
loan commitments, Congress has already authorized 31 different active 
programs that help or forgive student loans. That is 31 different 
programs already in place to help forgive or offset student loans. They 
range from total forgiveness for teachers to loan cancellations for law 
enforcement officers, military, early childhood educators, and social 
workers, to name a few.
  There is also repayment for high-demand fields where education is 
specialized and the need is a public good. For example, through the 
Department of Health and Human Services, a variety of different 
healthcare providers, including therapists, behavioral health 
providers, and those needed to help our children as we face this mental 
health crisis, are eligible for loan repayment.
  In addition, there are five different programs already to keep 
payments low compared to a person's income and which cap the total time 
for repayment.
  The mass transfer of debt, though, under this reckless student loan 
scheme forgets that these existing programs were set up to target 
limited taxpayer resources, to benefit those using their degrees to 
serve, and to fill broader public needs or who demonstrate that they 
themselves have a personal individual need.
  Our resolution prevents average Americans--87 percent of whom do not 
have student loans--from being stuck with a policy that the 
administration is doing not to be fair to all but, rather, to favor the 
  Our resolution also protects the rule of law, which President Biden 
must know he is violating. During Supreme Court arguments on the 
legality of student loan forgiveness in February, Justice Roberts 
clearly indicated that if $400 billion was to be spent on student loan 
cancellation, it would require congressional approval. That has not 
been given.
  This is a clear example of this administration attempting to subvert 
Congress for what appears to be purely political purposes. It sets a 
wildly dangerous precedent if left unchecked.
  President Biden, Secretary Cardona, come to the table. There are real 
problems in the student loan system and Federal financing of higher 
education. Let's fix them legally through a bipartisan, lasting 
  I will close by encouraging all my colleagues to join me in voting to 
pass this Congressional Review Act resolution to prevent these 
unconstitutional student debt forgiveness schemes. It is unfair to the 
hundreds of millions of Americans who will bear the burden of paying 
off hundreds of billions of dollars of someone else's student debt.