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House Republicans take on Biden’s student loan debt plan
The GOP-led Education panel is about to mark up a resolution to overturn the program. Plus: The latest on the debt limit and a congressman’s to Beyoncé as she kicks off her world tour.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
STUDENT LOAN RELIEF IN GOP CROSSHAIRS • Before we get to the latest on the debt limit situation, here’s some news for your attention: The House Education Committee will meet this morning to mark up a disapproval resolution to overturn President Biden’s student loan relief plan.
Republicans on the committee say the program is unfair to taxpayers who never went to college, Americans suffering from prolonged inflation, and future students who will bear the burden of ballooning college costs.
In a statement to Supercreator, Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia, the top Democrat on the committee, said the president’s plan to cancel at least $10,000 for millions of borrowers is necessary due to the rising cost of tuition, decades of disinvestment in higher education, and the declining relative value of the Pell Grant.
“A college education should not depend on how much money a student’s parents make,” Scott added. “Unfortunately, my Republican colleagues are seeking to deny borrowers — including roughly 140,000 in my home district — the relief they need to make ends meet.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, another member of the committee and the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus told Supercreator that the policy has already helped so many millions of people, including in Republican and rural districts, who can now think about purchasing a home or starting a small business.
“The idea that Republicans would want to take that away is even as many of them got [Paycheck Protection Program] loans [during the pandemic],” she said. “That seemed to be fine at the time, but apparently, when it mostly benefits poor people, Black and brown folks, indigenous folks, and even their poor white constituents, they don't seem to want to help.”
Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York, who also serves on the committee, told Supercreator he was unsurprised by the effort to block the policy.
“They’re pro-corporate, they’re anti-people,” he said of his GOP colleagues. “And so they’re always gonna side and lean towards what corporations are in favor of. They don’t care if people are struggling to live and afford bills, housing, utilities, food, whatever. This is what they do. And this is what they’ve been doing in terms of how they’ve governed this entire session.”
The disapproval resolution falls under a 1996 law called the Congressional Review Act that empowers Congress to overrule recent executive branch regulations by a simple majority vote, which means it isn’t subject to the 60-vote threshold required to break a filibuster. And even though Democrats control the Senate, the CRA requires the resolution to receive a floor vote.
The student loan debt relief program is currently on hold while the Supreme Court considers if it can go forward after two cases were brought against the administration by Republican officials in six states, including Nebraska and Missouri. The program was repealed altogether in the bill House Republicans passed last month to raise the debt limit and cut federal investments.
See also: “The right’s war on student debtors may cost us all” (Ryann Liebenthal / TNR)
DEBT LIMIT LATEST • As expected, the meeting between President Biden and the top four congressional leaders failed to produce an agreement to raise the debt limit ahead of an early-June deadline to avoid a first-ever default.
Staff-level conversations on where to spend, what programs to protect, what new revenue the government can raise, and how to lower the deficit will pick up this morning. President Biden and the four leaders will meet again on Friday.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy expressed disappointment that the meeting didn’t produce much progress, but House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries seemed to see it differently.
“I thought that there was progress in the White House meeting in that there was an agreement for staff to have meaningful, fair, honest discussion about a pathway forward in terms of dealing with the issues around spending, appropriations, investments and revenues,” he told reporters on Tuesday. Everyone is entitled to their own particular perspective. But the fact that everyone in that meeting agreed that we should move forward with real conversations no later than tomorrow morning in terms of the budget and appropriations path to see where we can find common ground is progress.”
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer characterized McCarthy’s unwillingness to unlink the debt limit increase from negotiations on spending priorities as a shame that makes finding a path forward before the government runs out of money to pay its bills more complicated.
“The bottom line is very simple: There are large differences between the parties. If you look at what President Biden had proposed and you look at what Speaker McCarthy has proposed, they are very, very different,” he said after the White House meeting. “We can try to come together on those in a budget and appropriations process, but to use the risk of default with all the dangers that has for the American people as a hostage and say it is my way or no way, or mostly my way or no way, is dangerous.”
Mitch McConnell, the top Senate Republican, said avoiding default is up to the president.
“Any compromise fleshed out by the Republican House and Democratic White House will pass the Senate easily,” he added. “So President Biden’s actions will either prevent default or guarantee default.”
Biden said he told the leaders during the meeting that he’s prepared to begin a separate discussion about his budget and spending priorities but not under the threat of default.
“Look, over these last few days and weeks, there’s a lot of politics posturing and gamesmanship, and it’s going to continue for a while,” he said. “But I am squarely focused on what matters. And we’re getting to work.”
What Bowman hopes to hear from Biden: Rep. Bowman will join the president later today when Biden travels to a New York district Biden won in 2020 that’s currently represented by Republican Rep. Mike Lawler.
The second-term congressman, who will also speak at the event, told Supercreator that he hopes the president makes plain why he’s unwilling to negotiate on raising the debt limit.
“We got to pay our bills. This is spending that was authorized by the last Congress. This has global ramifications. So needs to communicate that very clearly,” he said. “But he also has to clearly communicate how the Republicans are trying to hurt the American economy while claiming they’re trying to help.”
Lawler accepted the White House’s invitation to attend the event. It’s unclear if he will appear with the president.
A White House official said Biden will lay out the stakes for families across New York and the US and warn Americans that default would threaten jobs, a recession and retirement plans for everyday people.
“America is not a deadbeat nation. We pay our bills,” the official said. “Congress has a constitutional duty to prevent default.”
BEY IS BACK • Finally, Beyoncé kicks off her 57-concert Renaissance World Tour tonight in Stockholm, Sweden. To mark the occasion, I caught up with Democratic Rep. Robert Garcia of California, one of Congress’s most-visible members of the Beyhive to get his thoughts ahead of the tour.
“Obviously, I’m super excited,” he told me during a brief interview on Tuesday evening. “I think that I’m looking forward to seeing the reaction of fans at the different concerts through social media. So, super pumped and excited about it.”
ICYMI: In March, Garcia recognized Beyoncé in a viral floor speech to mark the end of Black History Month and the start of Women’s History Month. Watch the speech and see the T-shirt, tank, tote, and mug Garcia’s campaign is selling to raise money for his reelection.
👋🏾 Hi, hey, hello! Welcome to Supercreator Daily, your weekday morning guide to the politicians, power brokers, and policies shaping the American creator experience. It’s Wednesday, May 10, 2023.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein returned to the DC yesterday after a nearly three-month absence while she recovered from shingles. During her time away, Feinstein, who has announced she won't seek reelection next year, missed almost 100 votes and faced calls from House colleagues and progressive activists to resign from her seat. “I’m glad that my friend Dianne is back in the Senate and ready to roll up her sleeves and get to work,” Leader Schumer said in a statement. “After talking with her multiple times over the past few weeks, it’s clear she’s back where she wants to be and ready to deliver for California.” Read more from Joe Garofoli at The San Francisco Chronicle.
Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Linda Sánchez, and Democratic leaders will respond to the House GOP’s border security bill and introduce the US Citizenship Act to highlight the differences between the two parties on immigration reform. The House is expected to vote on the border security bill tomorrow.
President Biden on Tuesday spoke with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico to discuss how to manage the expected surge of migration to the southern border once Title 42 expires on Thursday. Biden told reporters that his administration is doing all it can to prepare for the influx and that the two countries are in the process of setting up offices in Colombia and other places where someone seeking asylum can go first. Read the readout of the call.
Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday was found liable for sexually abusing and defaming journalist E. Jean Carroll in the 1990s and awarded her $5 million in damages. Trump said he would appeal the verdict. Follow CNN for live updates.
Republican Rep. George Santos was charged in a Justice Department probe into allegations of false statements in his campaign finance filings. Santos, who is facing calls to resign from members of both parties, is expected to appear in court as early as today. “Voters on Long Island are more than ready to see George Santos finally be held accountable for his seemingly endless list of lies, unethical behavior, and alleged crimes,” Nebeyatt Betre, spokesperson for the House Democrats’ campaign arm, said in a statement. “House Republicans should be ashamed that they ever supported this disgraceful candidate when they knew he was a liar.”
Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts led a letter to ten of the largest credit card issuers requesting information on their credit card late fee policies amid a push from the banking lobby against a new proposed rule to limit excessive late fees. The rule, which was announced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in February, would require credit card issuers to justify late fees in excess of $8 and terminate automatic annual inflation adjustments to late fees, and cap late fees at 25 percent of the required minimum payment. These moves would save American families up to $9 billion a year, according to the agency. The letter was also signed by Democratic Sens. Brown, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Peter Welch of Vermont, and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Read the letters.
Democratic Reps. Ruben Gallego of Arizona and Jahana Hayes of Connecticut and Sen. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico introduced a bill that would provide professional leadership and development to address the teacher shortage and address burnout. The legislation would specifically focus on schools with high teacher turnover or high poverty rates or those who employ teachers from historically underrepresented backgrounds. Read a one-pager of the legislation and the full bill text.
Democratic Reps. Jimmy Gomez and Jimmy Panetta of California will reintroduce the EATS Act, which would expand eligibility for SNAP benefits to college students who qualify for federal work-study. The legislation would amend the Food and Nutrition Act to include attending an institution of higher education as a work qualification and also extend eligibility to students who have no Expected Family Contribution to their college costs.
President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will host College Athlete Day on June 12 at the White House. The event will celebrate women’s and men’s NCAA champion teams from the 2022-2023 season.
RELATED: The University of Georgia football team declined an invitation to celebrate the team’s back-to-back 2022 and 2023 national championships at the event. The team cited a scheduling conflict. Read more from Tia Mitchell at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
A group of House members and senators from both parties introduced a resolution to recognize the significant contributions of Jewish Americans to US society and culture. The resolution comes amid a rise of antisemitism in the country fueled by disinformation about the Holocaust. Read the resolution.
Liz Gereghty, the sister of Democratic Gov. Grethen Whitmer of Michigan, announced her campaign for Rep. Lawler’s southern New York seat. The district is one of 18 that voted for President Biden while being won or held by a Republican in 2022 that Democrats are targeting next year as they look to reclaim the House majority. Watch her campaign video.
BOLD PAC, the campaign arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, announced it endorsed Ruben Gallego in his Senate campaign to replace Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. “From serving as a Marine in Iraq, to being an organizer in Phoenix and serving in Congress, Ruben always puts others first. In the House of Representatives, Ruben has been a champion for Latino working families, fighting to expand higher education opportunities for DREAMers and to make our immigration system more efficient,” CHC BOLD PAC Chairwoman Linda Sánchez said in a statement. “We’re proud to stand with Ruben in his campaign to represent the people of Arizona in the Senate and to continue fighting alongside him for Latinos across the country.”
RELATED: Gallego’s campaign called out Sinema for her 2018 vote for rollback banking regulations that a recent report from the Federal Reserve says was a key driver of the recent Silicon Valley Bank failure. “The only question left is: ‘Why would Sinema vote for such a dangerous bill?’” Gallego said in a statement. “Maybe the $100,000 she took from the big banks, including from three Silicon Valley Bank lobbyists, in the lead up to her vote had something to do with it.” Read the report.
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President Biden this morning will receive his daily intelligence briefing before traveling to Valhalla, New York to speak about the debt limit. This evening, Biden will participate in two campaign receptions in New York City before returning to the White House.
Vice President Harris this morning will ceremonially swear in the Commissioners for the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics and this afternoon meet with House Pro-Choice Caucus leadership.
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden this afternoon will attend a luncheon with Senate spouses at the Library of Congress before hosting a documentary screening and reception at the White House of Unconditional: When Minds Hurt, Love Heals to highlight caregivers of wounded, ill, or injured service members or veterans. She will also speak at the event, which is in partnership with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. This evening. Dr. Biden will attend and speak at the Trust for the National Mall’s Ball for the Mall.
The House is in this morning with a vote to begin consideration of the Republicans’ border security bill scheduled for this afternoon.
The Senate is in this morning with three votes series scheduled:
To confirm L. Felice Gorordo to be US Alternate Executive Director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development advance the nomination of Glenna Laureen Wright-Gallo to be Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
To confirm Glenna Laureen Wright-Gallo to be Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services and confirm Colleen Joy Shogan to be Archivist of the United States.
To confirm Geeta Rao Gupta to be Ambassador at Large for Global Women's Issues
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