Senate Passes Bill To Block Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana joined Republicans in voting to block Biden's student debt relief program. Both the Senate and the House have now approved the resolution, which Biden has vowed to veto.
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Updated on June 2, 2023
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  • A resolution to block the president’s student loan debt forgiveness plan has cleared both the Senate and the House.
  • President Joe Biden has already stated he intends to veto the resolution.
  • Still, the Senate’s action is another rebuke of Biden’s plan to erase millions of Americans' federal student loan debt.

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed a resolution that would block President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan.

The bill, which cleared the House of Representatives on May 24, aims to prevent Biden’s plan to erase up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower from taking effect.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana voted alongside their Republican colleagues to pass the resolution. Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, previously a registered Democrat, also voted in favor of the measure.

Manchin said the U.S. cannot afford the president’s $400 billion plan.

There are already more than 50 existing student loan repayment and forgiveness programs aimed at attracting individuals to vital service jobs, such as teachers, health care workers, and public servants, Manchin said in a statement. This Biden proposal undermines these programs and forces hard-working taxpayers who already paid off their loans or did not go to college to shoulder the cost. Instead, we should be focusing on bipartisan student debt reforms that reduce the cost of higher education and help all Americans.

Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado and Mark Warner of Virginia abstained from the vote.

Neither released a statement explaining their decision to abstain. Both Senators also voted in favor of passing the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which raised the debt ceiling, later that day. That means it is unlikely their abstention from the debt forgiveness resolution is a result of an inability to register a vote on Thursday.

The bill did not pass with a veto-proof majority, and Biden previously vowed to veto the measure if it reaches the Oval Office.

The fate of the president’s loan forgiveness plan now lies squarely in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. The court heard oral arguments for the case in late February and is expected to hand down a decision later this summer.