(CNSNews.com) - Most congressional Republicans strongly oppose President Biden's loan relief program for some 43 million borrowers, not just because it's unfair or inflationary, but because they say Biden lacks the legal authority to do it.
"Washington Democrats have found yet another way to make inflation even worse, reward far-left activists, and achieve nothing for millions of working American families who can barely tread water," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement:
"President Biden’s student loan socialism is a slap in the face to every family who sacrificed to save for college, every graduate who paid their debt, and every American who chose a certain career path or volunteered to serve in our Armed Forces in order to avoid taking on debt. This policy is astonishingly unfair.
"The median American with student loans already has a significantly higher income than the median American overall. Experts who studied similar past proposals found that the overwhelming benefit of student loan socialism flows to higher-earning Americans. Democrats specifically wrote this policy to make sure that people earning six figures would benefit.
"President Biden’s inflation is crushing working families, and his answer is to give away even more government money to elites with higher salaries. Democrats are literally using working Americans’ money to try to buy themselves some enthusiasm from their political base."
McConnell said the loan relief is consistent with the Democrats' policies: "Taking money and purchasing power away from working families and redistributing it to their favored friends."
On Wednesday, Biden announced that the Education Department will provide $20,000 in debt relief to borrowers who received Pell Grants while they were in college.
To qualify, a borrower must make less than $125,000, or $250,000 if they are part of a household. Borrowers who are not Pell Grant recipients but who meet those income thresholds will be eligible to receive $10,000 in relief.
If all borrowers claim the relief that they’re entitled to, 43 million federal student loan borrowers will benefit. And of those, 20 million will have their debt completely canceled.
Among borrowers who are no longer in school, nearly 90 percent of relief dollars will go to those earning less than $75,000 a year, and no one in the top 5 percent of incomes in America will get a single dollar of relief.
The Biden administration says the plan will "narrow the racial wealth gap." The administration also extended the pause on federal student loan payments one final time through December 31, 2022.
In reaction, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tweeted: "Who will be forced to pay for Biden's debt transfer scam? Hard-working Americans who already paid off their debts or never took on student loan debt in the first place."
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) tweeted: "Sad to see what’s being done to bribe the voters. Biden's student loan forgiveness plan may win Democrats some votes, but it fuels inflation, foots taxpayers with other people’s financial obligations, is unfair to those who paid their own way & creates irresponsible expectations.
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the ranking Republican on the Ways & Means Committee, told Fox News on Wednesday, "I don’t believe this is legal. The president is trying to use taxpayers as a personal campaign slush fund. It’s wrong and I don’t believe he has the legal authority to do it."
Brady also said it's unfair: "Under this scheme, you’ve got a single mom who will pay off the debt for a computer scientist. A plumber will pay off the debt for a physician’s assistant. You have a janitor who will pay off the student debt of an IT architect or a psychologist. How is that fair in anyone’s world? It just isn’t. It is illegal, it’s unfair, and it will drive inflation and college costs higher.”
Even the liberal Washington Post editorial board opined, "Biden’s student loan announcement is a regressive, expensive mistake."