There’s no such thing as ‘canceling’ student-loan debt

Personal responsibility and accountability are virtues fundamental to any functioning society. Everyone makes decisions based on different goals and aspirations, and we are all ultimately responsible for the choices that we make. Yet, contrary to common sense, President Biden has decided that people who signed paperwork to take out student loans and have a legal and financial obligation to repay them are entitled to debt forgiveness at the expense of American taxpayers. As a result, the Biden administration has, to date, forgiven roughly $146 billion in student-loan debt. This is not only an insult to Americans nationwide who responsibly pay their own bills and work hard to make an honest living, but also disastrous for our worsening fiscal health.

Last summer, in a ruling that protected taxpayers, the U.S. Supreme Court found that President Biden’s first attempt to “cancel” around $400 billion in student loans was unconstitutional. However, this decision hasn’t stopped the Biden administration from moving forward with its brazen student-loan forgiveness schemes. In fact, it seems to have emboldened the president.

Just a few months after the Supreme Court’s clear ruling, President Biden rolled out his so-called SAVE plan — another taxpayer-funded effort that would cost approximately $559 billion. Iowans who never attended college, entered the workforce early, or helped put their kids through school should not be forced to pick up the tab for President Biden’s costly and unfair student-loan bailout. That’s why I voted to overturn this radical initiative to saddle American families with additional expenses as inflation and sky-high interest rates crush their budgets and purchasing power. People still have to pay off their car loans and credit card bills. Student loans are no different.

Now, President Biden is doubling down on his failed proposals and calling for another round of student-loan bailouts without any accountability or oversight. Instead of helping students understand the cost of college and make responsible financial decisions, President Biden is perfectly comfortable with extracting taxpayer dollars from the 87 percent of Americans without student-loan debt to subsidize the 13 percent who chose to attend college. If student loans and their accompanying interest payments can simply be erased, people who have already paid off their debts are punished for their frugality and responsibility. That’s just wrong.

While President Biden fails to offer real solutions to the affordability crisis that his reckless spending policies created, I have introduced legislation to help our kids pursue an education. Current law does not require the disclosure of the total interest amount that a student loan applicant would pay based on the applicable repayment plan. As a result, many students are not aware of the actual amount they will end up paying over the life of a loan. To rectify this lack of transparency, my STUDENT Act — which I’m leading alongside Sen. Ernst — would provide student-loan applicants with an estimate of the total amount of interest they would pay based on a standard 10-year repayment plan during or prior to accepting a loan. When students consider the total cost of a college degree, interest payments on student loans should be a transparent component of their financial calculations. By equipping students and their families with the information that they need to make sound financial decisions, we can ensure that young people receive a quality education and avoid mountains of debt when they enter the workforce.

Our nation is nearly $35 trillion in debt. We can’t afford to add hundreds of billions of dollars to our credit card when our families are already struggling from record inflation and government waste. As a strong, fiscal conservative, I will continue to oppose President Biden’s unconstitutional student-loan forgiveness plans, stand up for hardworking Iowa taxpayers, and help our kids get a degree if they so choose.

U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Hull, represents Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District.


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