PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Opponents of the student loan relief plan announced by President Biden are thinking over their next move.
WMBD’s Matt Sheehan spoke with Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL) Thursday morning about what he thinks will happen next.
The words Rep. LaHood used to describe the President’s actions to cancel student debt was “unconstitutional” and “illegal.”
Rep. LaHood said he thinks Congress should have been brought into the decision-making process, instead of President Biden taking executive action.
Now some Republicans are working on a legal strategy to overturn the President’s student loan forgiveness plan.
The Arizona Attorney General said he’s working with colleagues to develop the “best legal theory” against the plan.
“Do you think trying to sue is the best move forward?” Sheehan asked LaHood.
“I think it’s our only option at this point. But I think there’s real legal issues there, I think there’s some real problems with the way they went about doing this and the justification they used to do it,” Rep. LaHood said. “I feel fairly confident that there will be a good lawsuit here going forward. The bottom line here is, nothing is free. I know the President talks about cancellation, and free, this goes on the backs of taxpayers.”
When asked if he would sign onto the potential lawsuit, Rep. LaHood said he doesn’t know yet.
“There’s something called an amicus brief, that lawyers can sign onto and politicians can sign onto, or elected members of Congress can sign onto. I will consider that and look at the amicus brief,” Rep. LaHood said.
You can read the conversation between Sheehan and LaHood in the paragraphs below.
MS: Millions of Americans are awaiting student debt forgiveness. Do you approve of the President’s plan? Why or why not?
DL: I have real concerns with what the President did. First of all, he did it through executive action, not through Congress. Something that’s this big should have come through the Congressional process. We should have had a say in it. I have real concerns about cancelling debt. For people that are truck drivers, a mechanic, or a plumber…. you decided not to go to college. Why should you now be paying the student debt for lawyers, and doctors, and PHDs? I think there’s a real inequity in doing that. I’ve heard that from a lot of my constituents. First of all, nothing is free. The people that would be paying back this student debt that gets cancelled, are taxpayers. It gets put on the backs of taxpayers. I did not support the President’s move. I think it creates a lot of inequity. I understand there’s a lot of student debt out there but I don’t think this is the right approach to take. Send it to Congress, let us work on a piece of legislation, go through the legislative process, let the people have feedback on it. That wasn’t done here.
MS: When you talk about taxpayers having to pay that back one day. What would that look like?
DL: It’s hard to know. But when you’re cancelling student debt, what that means is the federal government is going to pay that to the institution that’s owed the money. Or whoever that student borrowed the money from. It’s the federal government paying that off. That comes from federal taxpayers.
MS: I’ve heard from many people on what they think about this. They’re excited. They were stressed they’d be in debt for decades, and now they’re getting this debt wiped away. Do you think it could be beneficial to the lower and middle class?
DL: Again, I think having input from both sides of the aisle on this would have been more beneficial. The checks and balances in our federal government work fairly well. We should have had that here.
MS: The White House’s COVID response team is calling on Congress to pass additional funding in the next budget to go towards more vaccines, testing, and research. Do you think Congress should pass more funding?
DL: I don’t. I think we’ve spent way too much money already. If you think about the last three years through the COVID Pandemic. Matt, we’ve spent $8 trillion of federal money. That’s caused a lot of inflationary issues that have happened, there’s plenty of COVID money still left over that we haven’t spent. We ought to look at, if there are still issues out there that need to be address or remedied, I think you need to use that leftover money. I think part of the reason we have record inflation, and people are hurting, is because we’ve spent too much federal money. So, I’m not supportive at this point. I haven’t seen the proper justification in giving more taxpayer money to go to this effort.
You can hear from Rep. LaHood Thursday during WMBD News at 4 regarding student loans, and WMBD This Morning Friday regarding COVID funding.