House GOP Fails In Last-Ditch Attempt To Undo Major Biden Policy

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On Wednesday, the House held a vote on whether to override President Joe Biden’s recent veto of a Congressional resolution that, if enacted, would’ve thrown out an October rule that provided for a broad erasure of student loan debt. The vote failed, with Republicans in favor of overriding the veto — and trashing that earlier effort at debt cancellation — finishing far below the two-thirds majority in the chamber they’d have needed.

The final tally had 206 voting against overriding the veto and 221 voting in favor. No Republicans voted no, meaning all the chamber’s Republican members who participated in the vote were prepared to essentially protect student loan debt at the expense of Americans who could use the help. The failure of the vote means that the underlying program remains essentially intact, for now — though it’s separately held up from implementation by challenges in court. A ruling on the dispute could come soon.

Though the sweeping action to cancel student loan debt has been challenged and temporarily upended, the Biden administration has actually already secured extensive cancellations of student debt in narrower initiatives, like for individuals working public service jobs. In May of this year, the federal Department of Education put the tally of debt cancelled just through that program at $42 billion, which assisted 615,000 borrowers across the United States. Those who can benefit include, in general terms, law enforcement personnel, firefighters, teachers, and those holding jobs with certain non-profit organizations. Only about 7,000 individuals had seen debt relief under this particular program at the close of the Trump administration.

When the Republican resolution to get back before the Education Department’s rulemaking process providing for the more sweeping debt cancellation came up in the Senate, it passed because of a few Democratic caucus defections. Senators including Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, and Jon Tester — the last of whom is from Montana — voted in favor of it. All three are slated to face voters again next year, assuming they follow through with running for another term. (Sinema hasn’t seemingly confirmed her plans.)