Biden In Trouble, As His Plan To Buy Votes With Student Debt Forgiveness Is Now In Trouble: Josh Hawley Introduces Bill

(Credit: Francis Chung/E&E News and Politico via AP Images)

Disclaimer: This article may contain the personal views and opinions of the author. 

As expected, President Joe Biden’s decision to cancel $10,000 of federal student loan debt has been met with criticism from Republicans.

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley announced he will introduce legislation that would make colleges and universities responsible for the student debt instead of canceling it.

“This is a reckless and irresponsible policy that will force American taxpayers to bail out wealthy and well-connected institutions,” Hawley said in a statement.

“My bill will make colleges and universities pay for the student debt they have created, instead of shifting the cost onto American taxpayers.”

Hawley’s bill would require colleges and universities to reimburse the federal government for any student loan debt that is forgiven.

This would effectively make colleges and universities responsible for the student debt they have created, instead of canceling it and forcing American taxpayers to bail out these institutions.

The bill, titled the “Make the Universities Pay Act,” would require institutions of higher education participating in the Federal Direct Student Loan Program to pay 50% of any student loan balance that is in default.

The legislation would also prohibit those universities from receiving any federal funds for student financial aid until the debt is repaid.

“It’s not fair to cancel the debt of some Americans while sticking others with the bill,” Hawley said in a statement. “And it’s especially not fair to force American taxpayers to foot the bill for debt that was incurred by students who attended Failed Colleges that left them worse off.”

The Missouri lawmaker noted that many of the for-profit colleges that have been accused of preying on students and leaving them with heavy debt burdens are now out of business.

“But the damage they caused lives on,” Hawley said. “And someone needs to hold these institutions accountable.”

He continued: “For decades, universities have amassed billion-dollar endowments while teaching nonsense like men can get pregnant. All while charging extortionary tuition. Now Joe Biden wants to give away another $1 trillion to prop up the system. 

“That’s wrong. Instead, it’s time to put universities on the hook and give students the information they need to make informed decisions.”

“The Make the Universities Pay Act would also allow student loan debt to be discharged in bankruptcy and allow undergraduate student loan debt to be discharged five years after the first payment is due, while graduate student loan can be discharged 15 years after the first payment is due.”

The legislation comes as President Biden is facing criticism from some lawmakers for his plan to cancel up to $10,000 in student loan debt per borrower.

Hawley is not the only lawmaker who has introduced legislation that would make universities pay for student debt that is canceled by the president.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced similar legislation last month.

And Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) has also reintroduced her “Higher Education Loan Repayment Assistance for Students” (HELP Students) Act, which would require universities to pay back a portion of student loan debt that is canceled.

It’s unclear if any of the legislation will gain traction in Congress, but it highlights the growing divide between lawmakers over President Biden’s student loan debt relief proposal.