Biden promotes controversial student debt forgiveness plan in union speech

President Joe Biden on Friday bowed to his plan to erase student debt for millions of people, lifting policy that Democrats hope will move voters before the November elections.

Biden, who made good on his controversial campaign promise last month, does not always address the issue directly.

At an event for the Democratic National Committee this week, Biden defended the benefits of funding higher education — but did not raise the issue of debt forgiveness directly.

Biden frontiers with November fast approaching

Instead, he spoke of the need to invest in education and said US companies should welcome his administration’s push for a “better educated audience.”

“How many of you would say 12 years is enough in the second quarter of the twenty-first century to compete?” Biden remembered his question to business leaders.

But in remarks at the National Education Association headquarters on Friday, Biden bowed to the policy.

“It’s a game changer,” Biden said to the applause. The event was attended by First Lady Jill Biden, an educator and member of the Nuclear Energy Agency.

The president’s student debt relief plan includes measures beyond the principal cancellation of the $10,000 federal student loans for borrowers and $20,000 for Pell grant recipients. For example, a new income-driven repayment plan will shift higher education costs for many applicants.

The plan can have significant effects on taxpayers, as well as on borrowers.

The bill was criticized as “bad” by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon during a House hearing on Wednesday.

“I hope they target people who really need help,” said Damon, a longtime donor to Democratic political candidates. “They still haven’t fixed the underwriting, and they haven’t set the cost of the college.”

Education has emerged as a major issue among voters, including in Michigan, where it was the number one searched topic on Google as of 9/11, according to internet searches logged and analyzed by Google Trends.

The issue has been the focus of the governor’s race, split between Democrats and Republicans over charter school funding proposals.

In Texas, it was also the number one searched topic as of September 19, often next to the name of student loan lenders or simply “student loan forgiveness.”

Biden’s call for Democratic allies on Friday included a promise to veto Republican legislation on abortion. He also opposed the notion that “Democrats are the big spenders,” arguing that a massive party climate and health care bill would reduce the federal deficit.

Biden predicted that it would shrink by $300 billion over the next decade “because Medicare is going to cut back, and they can pay less for the drugs they have to buy for seniors.”

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Senate Democrats said it would reduce the deficit by more than $300 billion. However, a study of Ben Wharton’s budget model estimates the figure at $264 billion over 10 years.

The legislation, called the Inflation Reduction Act, is not expected to curb inflation.

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