(CNSNews.com) - At the White House Press briefing on Wednesday, a reporter asked Biden adviser Susan Rice about critics who say the president's student loan forgiveness plan is "unfair."
The reporter noted that "there are people who decided to not go to college because they couldn’t pay for it, there are people who decided to join the Armed Forces in lieu of going to college because they couldn’t pay for it, and this leaves them behind. Is there inaccuracy in any of that?" the reporter asked.
"Yes, there is inaccuracy, but there’s also a double standard. And this is a debate we are happy to have," Rice responded:
"We have a country where we all benefit when the middle and working class are doing well. This relief will be targeted to those who need it most. As I said, 90 percent of those who will benefit earn less than $75,000 a year.
"So this is not a giveaway to rich people. This is not any of the things that Republican critics have charged. Yes, those who have paid their loans back deserve to be credited. That’s fantastic. That’s to their — to their credit.
"But that doesn’t mean that those who are, for whatever reason, unable to pay back their loans — like, you know, one third of people have debt and no college degree. That doesn’t mean that because some were able to do so, nobody should help those who weren’t. By that logic, we wouldn’t help anybody in this country."
Rice could not say how much the loan forgiveness will cost:
"Well, that that remains to be determined, and it will be a function of what percentage of eligible borrowers actually take up this opportunity.
The reporter threw out two estimates: "$300 billion? $500 billion?"
"They — we’ll see what — when they take up the opportunity, we’ll be able to give you a much better sense of that," Rice said.
"But are those numbers ballpark at this point?" the reporter asked.
"I think it depends on the numbers," Rice said. "Like, you know, unfortunately — and I — we’re here to encourage as many people to take it up as possible — if 43 million borrowers take it up, that’ll be different than if 50 percent of those 43 million take it up."
The reporter asked, if 43 million take advantage of the loan forgiveness, "what would the cost be?"
"I — I can’t give you that off the top of my head," Rice said.