Three Republican Senators—Bill Cassidy, John Cornyn, and Joni Ernst—have proposed a resolution to halt President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive a portion of student loan debt for certain federal borrowers.
Using the Congressional Review Act (CRA), the Senators aim to reverse Biden’s plan, which would forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt for those earning less than $125,000 annually.
The CRA enables Congress to overturn rules established by government agencies. The Senate education committee consulted the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to determine if Biden’s debt relief plan could fall under the CRA.
The GAO confirmed that the plan does meet the definition of a rule under the CRA, and therefore the Education Department’s waivers and modifications must be submitted to Congress.
Senator Cassidy criticized Biden’s plan, stating that it doesn’t genuinely forgive debt but rather shifts the burden to those who did not attend college or have already paid off their loans.
He further questioned the fairness of the policy, highlighting the lack of relief for individuals with different types of debt. The GAO’s decision underscores the CRA’s purpose of enhancing congressional oversight of agency rulemaking.
As the Education Department’s debt relief plan modifies student loan balances and was published in the Federal Register, it is considered a rule implementing law and policy, making it subject to congressional review under the CRA.
Despite the GAO’s decision, the Education Department maintains that the debt relief plan is not subject to the CRA, citing its one-time nature and application of existing waiver and modification authority.
Nonetheless, the Republican Senators’ efforts seek to ensure that the Biden administration’s actions are thoroughly examined and held accountable.