Republicans amp up attacks on possibility of student debt cancellation

Democrats are hoping an executive action by the president might rally their voter base ahead of the midterm elections.

Republican lawmakers have stepped up their criticism on President Biden and his allies' plans for student loan debt cancellation.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy recently called the proposal an "absurd fiscal policy that will make inflation worse" and another piece of evidence that Democrats in Washington are prioritizing "the demands of the liberal elite" over middle class Americans. 

McCarthy is far from the only member of his caucus to express a severe distaste for the proposed policy.

Missouri Rep. Jason Smith called the possibility of student loan forgiveness a "gross attack on hardworking Americans that did not attend college or saved to pay back their loans."

He argues that any policy will be a "bailout" for the top fifth of American earners, who hold graduate degrees and high lifetime earnings.

"It's totally obscene and immoral," said Republican Study Committee chairman Jim Banks (R-Ind.).

The White House is hoping that an executive action by the president on federal student debt cancellations will help rally the Democratic voting base ahead of the November midterm elections, in which Democrats are not expected to fare particularly well. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is a major backer of the plan to forgive student loans.

He has long argued that it is important to provide relief to Americans carrying excess debt, especially minority and working-class Americans. While Schumer has backed forgiving up to $50,000 in debt per student, Biden is reportedly looking at a figure closed to $10,000 per individual. 

According to a Brookings Institution analysis of 2019 data from the Federal Reserve, households with incomes of about $74,000 or more hold about 60% of all student debt.