Gov. Ron DeSantis is joining with 21 other Republican Governors in a letter to President Joe Biden condemning federal student loan forgiveness plans.
The joint letter, led by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, took issue with the anticipated cost burden of the loan forgiveness. The letter estimated that cost at $2,000 per capita, which the Governors called a “regressive” burden.
“What’s more, the top 20% of earning households hold $3 in student debt for every $1 held by the bottom quintile, generating a lopsided reality where the wealthy benefit at the expense of the working. Simply put, your plan rewards the rich and punishes the poor,” the Governors contended.
The letter also notes that borrowers willingly undertook their obligations.
“College may not be the right decision for every American, but for the students who took out loans, it was their decision: able adults and willing borrowers who knowingly agreed to the terms of the loan and consented to taking on debt in exchange for taking classes,” the letter maintained.
The Governors also argued that President Biden is overstepping his executive authority in issuing the relief.
“As President, you lack the authority to wield unilateral action to usher in a sweeping student loan cancelation plan, a position shared by leaders of your party,” the letter contended, citing a statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that the President can only “postpone” payments, while forgiveness writ large depends on congressional action.
The letter, sent by GOP Governors two months from Election Day, incorporated many of the complaints that they, including DeSantis, have made on an individual level. In a national radio interview in August, DeSantis denounced the “political disaster” of debt write-off.
“Oh, I thought it was terrible. One, it’s unconstitutional, which is obviously something important. I don’t think that that’s something Biden cares about, but he doesn’t have the authority to do this. Two, you’re going to be having farmers, people that have their own small businesses, waitresses, they’re going to be on the hook to pay the student loan of somebody who got a Ph.D. in gender studies? I mean, give me a break,” DeSantis told interviewer Hugh Hewitt on Aug. 25.
“They’ll plow it in, expand the (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) office or something like that,” DeSantis said at a press conference the same day, suggesting universities would further bloat from increased access to capital.
Biden said his administration would wipe out $10,000 of debt for federal loan borrowers, with $20,000 of forgiveness available for Pell Grant recipients. Republicans have been teeing off on the idea since before it was rolled out, and clearly will weaponize messaging on it through at least November.