House and Senate Republicans are planning to introduce a resolution to overturn President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan after the Government Accountability Office determined that the plan meets the definition of a rule under the Congressional Review Act.
That means that a simple majority of lawmakers in the House and Senate can vote to block the administration from carrying out the rule, though a Congressional Review Act resolution is subject to a presidential veto.
“This resolution prevents these Americans, whose debts look different from the favored group the Biden administration has selected, from picking up the bill for this irresponsible and unfair policy,” said Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, ranking member of the Senate education committee, in a statement.
Similarly, North Carolina representative Virginia Foxx, the Republican who chairs the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, said in a statement she looked forward to working with other lawmakers “to hold the Biden administration accountable for this illegal, unfair, and costly student loan bailout.”
“The Government Accountability Office confirmed today what the American people already knew: the President cannot rule by press release,” Foxx said. “The Congressional Review Act is one of Congress’s key tools to hold the executive branch accountable for not implementing laws with fidelity.”
An Education Department spokesperson said in a statement the administration will continue fighting to deliver debt relief to borrowers.
“It’s a shame for working families across the country that Republican lawmakers continue to fight tooth and nail to deny critical relief to millions of their own constituents impacted by the pandemic,” the statement says.
The GAO’s determination, released Friday, said the debt relief is considered a rule because it has a future effect, implement law and policy, and that the waivers and modifications of the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003 were published in the Federal Register.
“The Biden-Harris Administration’s plan to provide targeted, one-time student debt relief to more than 40 million Americans is based on the Department of Education’s decades-old authority granted by Congress and is a result of the same procedures used by multiple administrations over the last two decades to protect borrowers from the effects of national emergencies,” an Education Department spokesperson said in a statement. “This longtime statutory authority has never been subject to the Congressional Review Act. GAO’s decision is at odds with clear longstanding practice, and the Department remains fully confident that its debt relief plan complies with the law.”