President Joe Biden vetoed a bipartisan bill Wednesday that would have repealed his plan to cancel student debt. The Senate voted last week 52-46 to pass the legislation after the House passed the measure 218-203 in May.
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June 7 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have repealed his plan to cancel student debt, saying "I won't back down on helping hardworking folks."
With his veto, Biden preserved the plan to grant $10,000 to $20,000 in student debt relief to 40 million borrowers. Nearly 90% of loan forgiveness would go to people earning less than $75,000 a year, according to the White House.
Student loan payments were paused during the COVID-19 pandemic and are scheduled to resume at the end of the summer.
"Congressional Republicans led an effort to pass a bill blocking my administration's plan to provide up to $20,000 in student debt relief to working and middle class Americans," Biden said in a tweeted video Wednesday.
"I won't back down on helping hardworking folks. That's why I'm vetoing this bill," Biden announced.
The Senate voted last week 52-46 to pass the legislation after the House passed the measure 218-203 in May. Lawmakers who voted for the bill called Biden's plan too expensive and unfair because it benefits college graduates over taxpayers who chose to work instead of seeking higher education.
While neither house has the two-thirds support need to overturn Biden's veto, the U.S. Supreme Court could have the final say when it rules this month on whether the secretary of education has student debt relief authority.
"It is a shame for working families across the country that lawmakers continue to pursue this unprecedented attempt to deny critical relief to millions of their own constituents, even as several of these same lawmakers have had tens of thousands of dollars of their own business loans forgiven by the federal government," Biden said Wednesday as he rejected the bill, marking the fifth veto of his presidency.
Lawmakers who supported the legislation were quick to denounce the president's reasoning.
"On a bipartisan basis, Congress told POTUS his policies are irresponsible and unfair to the 87% of Americans who decided not to go to college, paid their way or already responsibly paid off their loans," Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy, who sponsored the bill, wrote in a tweet Wednesday.
"The president is sending a clear message that he is willing to force these ordinary Americans to bear the burden of paying off someone else's student debt in addition to their own bills."