President Joe Biden’s newly announced student loan forgiveness scheme will benefit several White House staffers, a watchdog group has revealed.
The plan stands to benefit a number of Biden appointees who qualify for the debt wipeout scheme.
Republicans have panned the move as “wildly unfair redistribution” and accused the president of using federal tax dollars to “buy votes” for Democrats.
Taxpayers will absorb up to $10,000 in outstanding student debt for borrowers earning less than $125,000 per year under Biden’s handout.
According to the watchdog group Inside Biden’s Basement, at least 223 high-ranking Biden appointees have outstanding loans, in total, of between $12.6 million and $31.2 million, and some make less than the salary threshold and so may qualify for the debt forgiveness.
“There are certain to be winners who are in senior policymaking positions for President Biden,” the watchdog said in a statement.
“This will amount to a raise for his closest allies and aides, some of whom may have even participated in crafting the policy.”
The group says that among White House appointees, who have total outstanding student debt of between $3 million and $7.4 million, there are some who stand to benefit from the new program.
Inside Biden’s Basement told Fox that it has identified at least 12 White House staffers who may be eligible for student debt forgiveness.
“Just at the White House, nearly 71 percent or 336 White House officials earn under the $125,000 threshold and potentially, even more, could be eligible under the household income cap,” Derrick Hollie, communications director for Inside Biden’s Basement, told Fox.
A list compiled by the watchdog (pdf) reveals dozens of Biden administration officials across a number of agencies and their respective estimated outstanding student debt balances.
“Counting the agencies, Inside Biden’s Basement has identified over 200 officials who may be eligible for this Biden handout on the backs of taxpayers,” Hollie told Fox.
Inside Biden’s Basement said in a statement that they’re still tracking down data for many Biden appointees and that “this list is surely just the tip of the iceberg of potential beneficiaries waiting to hand a fat bill to the American taxpayer.”
On Wednesday, Biden officially announced that his administration will forgive up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt for individual borrowers making less than $125,000 a year or married couples making less than $250,000 per year. Recipients of Pell Grants could qualify for a maximum of $20,000 under the debt wipe.
Student loan forgiveness was one of Biden’s presidential campaign promises and is the largest debt cancellation per individual so far.
Biden expressed in a series of posts on Twitter that the move will give working and middle-class families “breathing room” as they look to resume federal student loan payments.
“A college education is a ticket to a better life. But that ticket is too expensive,” Biden said in a statement.
“We’re extending the student loan payment pause a final time, targeting relief for folks that need it.”
“Today’s action of getting student loan debt relief to borrowers is about opportunity,” the president added.
“It’s about giving people a fair shot.”
Republicans have widely denounced the measure, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) calling it “wildly unfair redistribution” of wealth that would punish Americans who made sacrifices to pay off their student loans while benefiting those with higher earnings.
“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,” McConnell said in a Wednesday statement.
“This policy is astonishingly unfair,” he continued, adding that Americans with outstanding student loans tend to earn more on average and lower-earning individuals would be footing the bill.
“Experts who studied similar past proposals found that the overwhelming benefit of student loan socialism flows to higher-earning Americans,” McConnell said.
A 2020 study by Brookings Institution states that 40 percent of the highest-income households owed close to 60 percent of the outstanding education debt and made nearly three-quarters of the payments.
“President Biden’s inflation is crushing working families, and his answer is to give away even more government money to elites with higher salaries,” the Kentucky Republican continued.
“Democrats are literally using working Americans’ money to try to buy themselves some enthusiasm from their political base,” he argued.
Besides concerns about the general unfairness of the policy, a number of experts have said that the debt wipeout would have an inflationary impact at a time when inflation is already running at multi-decade highs.
Rising prices tend to hurt lower-income households the most, and if the policy does prove to be inflationary, it would add to the cost-of-living crunch pressuring working-class Americans.