(RepublicanWire.org) – West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is weighing in with criticism against President Joe Biden’s college debt relief plan, joining other centrists who have taken shots at the move.
‘I just think there’s a better way to do it. You have to earn it,’ he told reporters in the Capitol Tuesday, joining GOP criticism of the plan that wipes away college loans for people who meet income thresholds.
Manchin provided crucial support for Biden’s Inflation Adjustment Act, which the White House sold in part by pointing to an expected $300 billion in debt relief funded in part through a new surtax on stock buybacks.
Biden gave him the pen when he inked the deal into law, and had Manchin back at the White House last week for another event.
His last-minute deal with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer brought the final package together.
Manchin also called the debt forgiveness program, which Biden undertook using executive authority that could bring a legal challenge, ‘excessive,’ Business Insider reported.
Now he is adding criticism to that of other Democrats to Biden’s plan, which provides up to $10,000 in student loan debt relief to individuals earning up to $125,000, with up to $20,000 in relief for Pell Grant recipients.
Among the first to take a shot at the proposal was Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, who is in a tight race against Trump-backed Senate candidate J.D. Vance in Ohio.
‘As someone who’s paying off my own family’s student loans, I know the costs of higher education are too high,’ Ryan said late last month. ‘And while there’s no doubt that a college education should be about opening opportunities, waiving debt for those already on a trajectory to financial security sends the wrong message to the millions of Ohioans without a degree working just as hard to make ends meet.’
‘While immediate relief to families is important, one-time debt cancellation does not solve the underlying problem,’ said Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, who is up for reelection late last month after Biden announced the plan.
The White House did not have a cost estimate when it first announced the move, citing uncertainty about how many borrowers would participate, then eventually came out with an estimate that it might cost $240 billion over a decade.
Some outside analysts quickly said it could cost up to $500 billion, while the Penn Wharton model predicts it could cost up to $1 trillion.
Voters were split 48-43 on Biden’s plan, according to a Politico / Morning Consult poll last week.
Biden announced the plan last month to address cumulative student loan debt that has ballooned to $1.6 trillion and impacts 45 million borrowers, according to the White House.