President Joe Biden took off the gloves Friday in a speech pummeling Republican lawmakers who backed massive federal subsidies for business owners, including themselves, during COVID-19 but are now complaining about his student debt forgiveness program.
“Who in the hell do they think they are?” Biden asked to applause during an appearance at Delaware State University, where 75% of students are recipients of Pell Grants geared toward lower-income college applicants.
“I don’t want to hear it from MAGA Republicans who had hundreds of thousands of dollars of debts, even millions of dollars, in pandemic relief loans forgiven, who are now attacking me for helping working-class and middle-class Americans,” he railed.
Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and her husband “got over $180,000 in business loans forgiven,” Biden noted.
He also bashed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) amid loud boos from the audience. Cruz had criticized the student debt program for helping people he dismissed as “slackers.”
“Republican governors wrote me a letter saying this relief only helps ‘the elite few.’ Y’all know you’re the elite few? I knew you were really special, but no, you’re the elite few,” Biden added in a dig at the politicians.
The application process for student debt relief that’s expected to aid some 40 million Americans was launched this week after surviving a court challenge. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett rejected a challenge to Biden’s program by a Wisconsin taxpayers’ group.
But late on Friday, a federal appeals court issued an administrative stay temporarily blocking the program. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the stay while it considers a motion from six Republican-led states to stop the loan forgiveness program and ordered the Biden administration not to act on the program while it considers the appeal.
Biden has previously skewered critics of student debt relief for eagerly supporting the federal Paycheck Protection Program that forgave $742 billion dollars of $792 billion in loans handed out to business owners to help them weather the pandemic business downturn. The handouts weren’t restricted by a recipient’s wealth or income.
Many of the same lawmakers attacking student debt relief also helped pass former President Donald Trump’s massive 40% tax cut for corporations in 2017.
Biden’s program would provide up to $10,000 in standard debt cancellation for borrowers who earn less than $125,000 a year. Couples who file taxes jointly and earn less than $250,000 annually will also be eligible.
Pell Grant recipients, who make up the majority of borrowers, would be eligible for an additional $10,000 in debt relief. The plan is expected to cost as much as hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years.
Twitter users weighed in approvingly after Biden took aim at Republicans like Cruz and Greene.