Education Dept. must end student loan debt proposal, say Cassidy, 130 lawmakers

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) helped lead 130 lawmakers from both chambers of Congress in condemning a rulemaking proposed by the U.S. Department of Education that would transfer as much as $1 trillion of student loan debt onto American taxpayers.

“It is past time that we fix our nation’s broken higher education financing system,” wrote Sen. Cassidy and his colleagues in a May 17 letter sent to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.

The Department of Education’s April 17 notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) “represents the latest in a string of reckless attempts to transfer student loan debt from those who willingly borrowed to those who did not or have already repaid their loans,” the lawmakers wrote. “We strongly urge you to withdraw it.”

Sen. Cassidy and his colleagues pointed out that this latest NPRM is broader than the department’s first attempt, which they wrote has an estimated price tag of $147 billion, and forces taxpayers to take on the debt of nearly 28 million borrowers, according to their letter.

“In addition to the fiscally irresponsible nature of this backdoor attempt to enact ‘free’ college, the administration continues to use borrowers as political pawns knowing full well these proposed actions are illegal,” they wrote, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court last June ruled that the Department of Education’s first plan was unconstitutional. 

They also wrote that while the Biden administration prioritizes enacting student loan “schemes,” it failed to properly implement the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid program. Such continued delays prevent students and families from accessing crucial financial aid information as they choose the college they can afford to attend, the letter says. 

“Instead of exacerbating the problems of inflated college costs and low-value degrees, we urge you to withdraw this NPRM and work with Congress,” wrote Sen. Cassidy and the lawmakers, who included U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), John Hoeven (R-ND), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), John Thune (R-SD), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Todd Young (R-IN).

The senators were joined in signing the letter by 90 lawmakers from the U.S. House of Representatives.