Virginia’s federal leaders share thoughts on student loan plan

Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 7:31 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Relief is on the way for millions of Americans with federal student loans. President Joe Biden pledged to wipe away thousands of dollars of college debt. The administration is also proposing changes to repayment programs.

But the news is being received with cheers and criticism.

Under the forgiveness plan, the Biden Administration says more than 40 million Americans could see their student loan debt lowered.

Top Republicans are slamming the move, saying it is “unfair,” and some believe the plan insults those who have repaid their debt.

The plan forgives $20,000 of debt for those with Pell Grants, and $10,000 for other borrowers making under $125,000 a year.

It also caps income-driven payments at five percent of monthly income -- a total overhaul of the current loan forgiveness program.

Virginia’s U.S. Senators visited the area and were asked what their thoughts are about the plan.

“What I would have rather seen happen, and I am frustrated with the administration they didn’t do it is when interest rates were lower. Why didn’t we refinance all of the students down to 2%? You know, so people still have to pay off the loan. But what’s killing a lot of these folks is the interest rates. And we missed a little bit of that opportunities and interest rates went up, but I think that would have been a much smarter and fairer solution,” said U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA).

“20 million Americans are going to have their student loan debt dramatically reduced and you know what will happen? When does that happen? More people will say I have money now to buy a car. I have money now. I don’t have to rent I can buy a house. They’re going to turn those savings into things that will generate all kinds of other economic activity. So it’s going to have a ripple effect that I think will be very positive,” said U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA).

Republican Congressional representatives from our hometowns weighed in on Twitter:

Rep. Good continues, “President Biden is unilaterally transferring $300 billion in debt from those who incurred it to those who didn’t. This immoral plan is unfair to anyone who sacrificed and saved to pay for college as well as to those who opted not to go at all. The president will add to our record-setting levels of inflation, and he is doing so just a week after signing the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act” into law. Sadly, this abandonment of personal responsibility as an American value is nothing more than a desperate and transparent attempt to save his party from catastrophic losses in the mid-term elections by appeasing the radical left.”

Biden is extending the payment pause on federal student loans for a “final time” through Dec. 31.