As the White House continues to hint at "canceling" some student loan debt, GOP leaders are predicting a "blue-collar backlash" if President Joe Biden follows through with executive action.
While Democratic Party leaders such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., are pushing for a higher amount, Biden is considering whether to shift $10,000 or more per borrower of student debt to taxpayers, the Washington Examiner reports.
The most recent reports indicate an income cap of $150,000 for individuals and $300,000 for married couples, but any transfer of debt might anger the two-thirds of families who never took out student loans.
"What does it say for all those folks?" former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos told the Examiner. "Boy, you were really stupid here."
DeVos and other Republicans are predicting a "blue-collar backlash" if Biden decides to shift the obligation of repaying student loan debt from borrowers to taxpayers. As the midterm congressional elections approach, Democrats likely view the move as a Hail Mary ahead of what is widely expected to be a scathing rebuke by voters and a Republican blowout victory in November.
Citing estimates from the federal Department of Education, the Examiner reports that 13% of Americans hold student loan debt collectively totaling more than $1.3 trillion.
Ultimately, forgiving $10,000 in student loan debt per borrower could cost the government more than $200 billion, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
DeVos also told the Examiner that, if it happens, "canceling" student loan debt won't do anything for the next generation of borrowers and will instead only "buy a bunch of political points."
One of the solutions the Trump education secretary suggested is for the federal government to get out of the student loan business altogether.
Top Democrats in the Senate may be all in, however, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Biden cannot legally make a move on student loans on his own and suggested she recognizes the resentment this might cause among voters.
"Suppose … your child just decided they, at this time, [do] not want to go to college, but you're paying taxes to forgive somebody else's obligations," she said last July. "You may not be happy about that."
Support for forgiving student loan debt among Republicans appears to be influenced by age.
A recent poll from the Student Borrower Protection Center found that 60% of Republicans ages 30-39 support Biden forgiving student loans, as well as small majorities of Republicans in the 18-29 and 40-49 age groups.
Among older Republican age groups, support plunges.
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