President Biden's recent proposal to forgive a substantial $430 billion in student loan debt has raised concerns about the competence and oversight of his administration. A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released on Thursday revealed significant shortcomings in the Department of Education's handling of the plan.
According to the report, the Education Department failed to adequately vet the incomes of up to 31 million borrowers set to receive between $10,000 and $20,000 in student loan relief. Shockingly, over 12 million applicants had their requests approved without the collection or review of any income documentation—relying solely on borrowers' self-reported information.
Biden’s $430B student loan giveaway plan had no fraud protection: feds https://t.co/0EBaMSOO74
— Carol RN *Miss Rush & the Gipper* 👩⚕️🇺🇸 🇮🇱🦈 (@pasqueflower19) November 17, 2023
Recipients without Pell Grants were eligible for up to $10,000 in debt relief based on their adjusted gross income in 2020 or 2021. Another 2 million borrowers were automatically qualified for debt cancellation based on reported income from past financial aid applications and loan repayment plan enrollments. Critics argue that this approach resulted in money being distributed without ensuring recipients genuinely needed the assistance.
Moreover, a final measure intended to review tax filings from select borrowers was undermined when the Supreme Court overturned the program. The report raises questions about the integrity and honesty of the government's handling of the situation, suggesting a lack of accountability.
Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.) criticized the Biden administration, stating, "It is unconscionable that the Biden administration was willing to shift hundreds of billions of dollars of student debt onto taxpayers with no accountability." This sentiment reflects concerns about the burden placed on hardworking Americans who may not have attended college or already paid off their loans.
Adding to the controversy, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona is accused of concealing information from the public version of the report, prompting questions about transparency within the administration. Senators Cassidy and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called out Cardona for this alleged misconduct, raising broader concerns about the review process followed by the Education Department.
President Biden's attempt to justify the loan forgiveness by comparing it to a law passed during the Iraq War faced a setback when the Supreme Court ruled that Biden could not unilaterally rewrite the statute without congressional approval. This decision underscored concerns about executive overreach.
In summary, the GAO report on Biden's student loan debt forgiveness plan reinforces conservative criticism that the administration is mishandling taxpayer money and calls for responsible leadership prioritizing the interests of hardworking Americans over extravagant spending.