WASHINGTON (WJHL) — President Joe Biden revealed his plan to cancel student loan debt for millions of Americans on Wednesday.
Under the plan, $10,000 of debt will be forgiven for individuals earning less than $125,000 a year or families earning less than $250,000. Those who received Pell Grants during college will be eligible for another $10,000 in debt relief.
Reaction from those who represent Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia in Congress was along party lines.
Virginia Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both Democrats, praised the president’s plan:
“I commend the administration on taking action to provide student debt relief, though I’ve been saying for a long time that a smarter and more permanent solution would have been refinancing these loans to significantly lower interest rates. I’ll keep working to find solutions to lower costs for higher education.”Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)
“Getting the education you need to achieve your dreams or provide for your family shouldn’t be a one-way ticket to a mountain of debt. I’m glad to see President Biden provide targeted student loan forgiveness to help millions of Americans. This will make a big difference for so many Virginians and Americans. I’m going to keep working to ease the burden of student loan debt and make post-secondary education more affordable.”Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican, criticized the president’s plan in a series of tweets. She called it “a gimmick” that will benefit the rich instead of the middle-class, despite loan relief being restricted based on income.
“Inflation is hurting the American people. But the Biden Administration believes that loan forgiveness is a priority,” Blackburn said in one tweet. In another, she wrote: “President Biden’s decision to waive student loan debt will increase inflation and is another gift to the rich. Tennesseans should not be forced to pay for coastal elites to get their PhD in gender studies.”
Northeast Tennessee’s Republican congresswoman, Rep. Diana Harshbarger, was also critical of Biden’s announcement:
“Nearly 87% of Americans do not have student loans, but now will be forced to pay the debt. This is nothing more than a socialist debt transfer scam. Joe Biden is simply trying to buy votes.”Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN)
Requests for comment by Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty and Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith have not been answered.