President Joe Biden announces new actions to reduce health care costs on Friday, July 7, 2023, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)
Mississippi’s 2nd District Congressman Bennie Thompson, the only Democrat representing the state of Magnolia, welcomed the news from the White House on Wednesday. All Republicans in the Mississippi Delegation have repeatedly voiced their opposition to federal debt forgiveness.
The Biden Administration has released the state-by-state numbers of its latest efforts regarding federal student loan forgiveness. In total, nearly 804,000 borrowers owing $39 billion will see their debts automatically discharged as the US Department of Education makes adjustments to income-defined repayment (IDR) plans.
Borrowers are eligible for forgiveness if they have accumulated the equivalent of 20 or 25 years of qualifying months depending on the type of loan and the IDR plan. The Biden Administration says it seeks to ensure that all borrowers have an accurate count of the number of monthly payments that qualify for forgiveness.
“My Administration is fulfilling that commitment. Starting today, more than 800,000 student loan borrowers who have been paying off their loans for 20 years or more will see $39 billion of their loans canceled due to steps my Administration took to fix past failures,” the president said Friday. President Joe Biden. “These borrowers will join the millions of people my Administration has provided relief to over the last two years, resulting in more than $116 billion in loan relief for more than 3 million borrowers under my Administration.”
According to the White House, the Department of Education notified eligible borrowers as of last Friday that they qualify for forgiveness without further action on their part. Downloads start 30 days after those emails are sent. If borrowers wish to opt out of the forgiveness plan, they are encouraged to contact their loan servicer during that 30-day period.
In Mississippi, the White House says 9,480 residents who owe more than $450 million are eligible for student loan forgiveness based on parameters set by the Biden Administration. That number equates to an average debt discharge per Mississippi borrower of approximately $47,500.
Congressman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat representing Mississippi’s 2nd district, said in a statement Wednesday that he appreciates the debt “relief” being provided by the Biden-Harris Administration.
“I want to express my appreciation to the Biden-Harris Administration for its commitment and dedication to helping alleviate student loan debt for millions of Americans,” Thompson said. “Of the 804,000 borrowers, 9,480 are receiving student loan forgiveness in Mississippi. As the only member of the Mississippi delegation to support student debt forgiveness, I am committed to this cause and look forward to any future initiatives that may arise.”
As Thompson points out in this statement, he, the state’s only Democrat in Congress, is the only federal official from Magnolia State to support student loan forgiveness. Every other Mississippi member, including US senators and the other three congressmen, all Republicans, have voiced opposition to the measure since the Biden administration began its push early in the president’s term.
This latest effort to provide debt forgiveness comes after the US Supreme Court ruled that the Biden Administration’s use of the Higher Education Student Relief Opportunity Act of 2003, or The HEROES Act failed to provide authorization for the student loan forgiveness plan they filed that would have allowed more than $400 billion in debt discharge for nearly 43 million Americans.
READ MORE: Biden Student Loan Forgiveness Overturned by US Supreme Court
Writing for the majority in the 6-3 US Supreme Court decision, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that precedent “requires Congress to speak clearly before a departmental secretary can unilaterally alter large swaths of the American economy”. Roberts went on to say that one branch of government was “taking over the power that belongs to another.”