House Republicans on Thursday advanced legislation to overturn President Joe Biden’s new student loan repayment program that lowers monthly payments and caps interest.
The House education committee voted 23-19, along party lines, to approve a resolution, H.J. Res. 88, that would block the new income-driven repayment plan — dubbed the SAVE plan — that was finalized by the Education Department earlier this year.
Biden officials are promoting the program as a crucial tool to help millions of Americans manage their federal student loan payments, which are set to resume in October for the first time in more than three years.
More than 4 million borrowers are enrolled in the program, according to the Education Department, and the Biden administration has launched a public outreach campaign to get more Americans to sign up.
But Republicans have blasted the new repayment plan as a backdoor loan forgiveness program that provides wasteful subsidies to millions of borrowers at taxpayers' expense.
The Biden administration estimated that its new plan would cost $156 billion over the next decade. The Congressional Budget Office previously pegged the figure at $230 billion, and outside analysts, such as Penn Wharton Budget Model, have said it could be as high as $475 billion.
GOP lawmakers are seeking to nullify the repayment plan under the Congressional Review Act, a tool that allows lawmakers to swiftly overturn recently enacted executive branch policies. It will allow Republicans to force a vote on the measure in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
A similar GOP-led effort to repeal Biden’s student debt relief program earlier this year, before the Supreme Court struck it down, passed Congress with a handful of Democratic votes, though Biden swiftly vetoed the measure.