Republicans objected on the House floor Wednesday after Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.) accused them of using “bigoted logic” during discussions on student loan forgiveness, demanding the comment be stricken from the record.
The remark, which Frost agreed to withdraw, came during debate about a measure that would end President Biden’s student debt relief and stop the student loan payment pause that began in 2020. GOP House members were set to approve the measure, which would face a steep uphill climb in the Democratic-controlled Senate, later Wednesday.
“If we legislated using the logic that you bring to this issue here today, women and Black folks wouldn’t have the right to vote because it would be unfair to those who never got to vote before them,” Frost said.
“See, if we legislated using your logic that because there was an injustice, we can’t fix it because it’s unfair to those who never had it fixed — means we would never progress on any issue in this country. Why do you bring that bigoted logic to this issue as it relates to students but not any other issue?” he added.
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), chairwoman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the legislation being considered, immediately objected to the comment and asked for it to be taken down.
“I think our colleagues on the other side of the aisle are doing their best to gaslight the 87 percent of their constituents who are going to be saddled with the debt from the 13 percent,” she said.
“I demand his words be taken down,” Foxx added.
After a couple of minutes, Frost withdrew the comment.
The remark highlighted the intense debate as lawmakers prep to vote on Rep. Bob Good’s (R-Va.) Congressional Review Act measure against student debt relief and the payment pause. The act allows Congress to override executive actions taken by the president.
During debates, Republicans have stuck to their messaging about how unfair student loan forgiveness is, saying it would cost each taxpayer around $3,500 for student debt relief.
“It will further fuel inflation but does nothing to address the rising cost of college,” Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) said.
Democrats have said Republicans are hypocritical and were willing to give small businesses debt forgiveness with the Payback Protection Program, but not student loan borrowers.
“Why for the love of God do Republicans want to continue to punch down on America’s students and divide our country? The Biden administration’s student debt relief plan is not a bailout, it is a lifeline,” Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) said.
—Updated at 4:08 p.m.