NewsNational PoliticsAmerica Votes


Pres. Biden pushes for new student debt forgiveness plan in Wisconsin

Chief Political Reporter Charles Benson looks at what's behind the effort, and why Wisconsin Republicans call Biden's plan unfair.
Joe Biden
Posted at 8:30 AM, Apr 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-09 09:30:00-04

President Joe Biden is in a forgiving mood when it comes to student debt.

Biden made student loan forgiveness a priority during a stop at Madison Technical College today.

It was a campaign promise for candidate Biden.

"Starting this fall we plan to deliver up to $20,000 interest relief for 20 million borrowers and full forgiveness for millions more."

Key details include forgiving debt for borrowers who've paid for 20 years but still owe money.

Relief from years of accrued or runaway interest and borrowers facing financial hardship for medical bills or childcare.

"By freeing millions of Americans from this crushing student debt means they can finally get on with their lives instead of their lives being put on hold,’ said Biden.

To give you some perspective on why President Biden is making his big announcement in Madison Wisconsin - 24,572 UW students voted in the 2020 presidential campaign. Not all of them for Biden, but to put that number in perspective - Biden won Wisconsin by fewer than 21,000 votes.

"This is an encompassing, multi-generational issue," said Scot Ross, a long-time Democratic advocate from Madison.

Ross has pushed for student debt reform for more than a decade after racking up $64,000 in student loan debt for a college and graduate degree that he paid off in 26 years.

He sees it as an economic issue for borrowers struggling with student loan debt.

"They just want to fully participate in the American economy, said Ross. "They want to buy cars they want to buy homes, all those pieces that build an American economy."

Republican-led states successfully sued the Bien Administration to last effort to waive student debt. The US Supreme Court said Congressional approval was needed.

Wisconsin Republican Congressman Bryan Steil says Biden's new plan is unfair.

"The president is simply shifting the burden to those individuals who paid off their student loans, or worked their way through school or chose to take a career that didn't require a four-year education," said Representative Steil. "The president should explain to someone who is working as a carpenter in Kenosha how this program is fair to them. "

Some of Biden's new proposals must be finalized by the Department of Education.