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Business INsider: 13 GOP lawmakers who support blocking student-loan forgiveness represent thousands of borrowers in battleground districts. Advocates just launched a campaign against them ahead of next year's elections.


July 6, 2023

Ayelet Sheffey

  • A new nonprofit, Protect Borrowers Action, launched to target Republicans who oppose student-debt relief in battleground districts.

  • The targeted lawmakers have also voted to rescind Biden's loan forgiveness plan.

  • The Supreme Court struck down Biden's broad debt relief, and Biden is now pursuing alternate routes.ent battleground districts.

A new advocacy group doesn't want to let Republican lawmakers who oppose student-loan forgiveness off the hook.

On Thursday, a new nonprofit called Protect Borrowers Action released its launch ad targeting 13 Republican lawmakers representing battleground districts who voted to block student-debt relief and signed on to an amicus brief to the Supreme Court urging it to strike down President Joe Biden's loan forgiveness.

At the end of June, the Supreme Court struck down Biden's plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for federal borrowers, and it came after both the House and Senate passed a bill to rescind Biden's debt relief plan that the president ultimately vetoed. While Biden announced a new plan to try to get borrowers relief using a different law — the Higher Education Act of 1965 — many Republican lawmakers do not want any relief to be carried out.

Protect Borrowers Action wants some of them voted out. "They act like we aren't listening or don't care, but the joke's on them," the group said in its launch ad. "A majority of Americans support student debt relief and a super majority of people with loans support relief. The war on hardworking people has to stop."

"We're going to make sure they hear from their constituents who they kept drowning in debt because hardworking people don't deserve to be laughed at, they deserve to be heard," it said.

Among the Republicans on the targeted list are Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert and Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon, who have been outspoken on their opposition to student-debt relief. 

"Biden's $400 billion student loan bailout has been STRUCK DOWN by the Supreme Court! Americans that paid back their student loans and Americans who never even had student loans will not be forced to payback everyone else's student loans," Boebert wrote on Twitter after the Supreme Court decision. "Huge victory for personal responsibility and common sense!"

Bacon also wrote on Twitter the same day that "the Supreme Court has delivered another victory for the constitution by striking down the student loan cancellation plan."

Along with advocacy efforts to target Republican lawmakers, some Democratic lawmakers are targeting the Biden administration, urging him to provide relief to borrowers before they have to resume payments. Biden acknowledged that delivering relief through the Higher Education Act will take some time — at least a few months — because it requires the policy go through a negotiated rulemaking process, which includes hearings and public comment. 

Still, payments are scheduled to resume in October, with interest accruing again in September — and while the Education Department announced a 12-month "on-ramp" period after repayment starts during which borrowers who miss payments will not be reported to credit agencies, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is worried the resumption might not be financially feasible for those with student debt.

"There are millions of people in this country that have student-loan debt amounts under ten or $20,000, as outlined in the plan," Ocasio-Cortez said on Sunday. "People should not be incurring interest during this 12-month on-ramp period, so I highly urge the administration to consider suspending those interest payments."

It's unclear what, if any, additional measures the department is considering right now — but some Republicans have made clear they will oppose additional efforts to get relief to borrowers.

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