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Hearing Recap: Student Loan Edition (Part II)

It’s no secret that college costs are too high, completion rates are too low, and the student loan program is in shambles. Reform is badly needed. Unfortunately, real reforms have fallen to the wayside as President Biden plays king, working to write off millions in federal student loan debt, all at the expense of students and taxpayers.

Biden may think he can govern by executive fiat, but Congress holds the power of the purse and with that power comes the responsibility to ensure good stewardship of taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars.

On Wednesday, the Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee upheld that responsibility by conducting oversight of President Biden’s illegal free college agenda.

Two Biden administration officials, Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal and COO of Federal Student Aid Richard Cordray, spent the day under fire for the Department of Education’s harmful policies.

Chairman Burgess Owens (R-UT) led the charge. In his opening statement, Rep. Owens called out the administration’s executive overreach and emphasized the need for oversight.

“All in all, we need to put a stop to President Biden’s radical, costly, and unlawful student loan scheme, and it starts with fixing a broken and unaccountable executive branch. For that reason, I’m glad we are having this hearing today and conducting robust oversight,” said Rep. Owens. “As always, sunshine is the best disinfectant.”

Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) grilled Mr. Kvaal over the Department’s refusal to release a report showing that taxpayers will be on the hook for the federal government’s disastrous student loan policy. Expert analysis shows there’s a major gap between what the administration says student loans are worth and the real value of those loans.

“I’m holding the final valuation report that we requested,” Foxx said as she held up the report in question. Congress found the report after digging through hundreds of documents the Department gave to an outside group.

Kvaal said it was given to the Committee. That is incorrect.

“I think you might need to get better information from your staff,” Foxx quipped. “Either you are incapable of understanding basic requests or you simply don’t give a damn that you’re hiding the true costs of this admin’s actions.”

During Congresswoman Erin Houchin’s (R-IN) questioning, she dispelled Democrats’ claim that Biden’s student loan scam is targeted to low-income borrowers.

To Mr. Cordray, Rep. Houchin asked “Is it fair to ask taxpayers who never chose college to pay for the Ivy League degrees of others?”

“The debt relief that the administration put forward … is aimed at lower and middle income borrowers,” Cordray replied.

“It’s noted that the [student loan] pause benefits high income borrowers and graduate students,” Houchin argued.

She’s right. According to the Department of Education, of the borrowers who are expected to leave school in 2024, 70 percent of debt will be owed by students who went to graduate school and 39 percent will be owed by graduate students expected to earn more than $100,000 annually during their careers. Two-thirds of the benefits resulting from the administration’s bailout goes to the top half of earners.

Congressman Nathaniel Moran (R-TX) questioned Mr. Cordray on the Department’s efforts to eliminate income verification measures designed to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse in student loan repayments.

“Self-certification is something during the pandemic the Department—under the prior administration and this administration—decided was the most appropriate way to proceed,” Cordray replied.

The pandemic is over.
Yet, the Department continues to use COVID-19 as justification for this administration’s illegal student loan debt transfer scheme.

The president’s student loan policies do nothing to solve the root issues of student debt or the rising costs of college. We must put forth policies that bolster individual responsibility, not government dependence.

Bottom Line: Committee Republicans are holding the Biden administration’s feet to the fire over its radical student loan scheme.
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