Governor Gianforte Blasts Pres. Biden for Shifting Student Loan Debt to Montana Taxpayers

Governor's Office
  • September 12 2022

HELENA, Mont. – Joined by 21 other governors, Governor Greg Gianforte today called on President Joe Biden to immediately withdraw his student loan forgiveness plan, which shifts the burden of the loans from borrowers to the American people.

“As governors, we support making higher education more affordable and accessible for students in our states, but we fundamentally oppose your plan to force American taxpayers to pay off the student loan debt of an elite few – a plan that is estimated to cost the American taxpayer more than $2,000 each or $600 billion total, a price the people of our states cannot afford,” the governors wrote.

On August 24, 2022, President Biden announced his administration would “cancel,” as coined by the White House, student loan debt up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 for qualifying non-Pell Grant recipients.

The governors point out, however, that the president’s plan simply redistributes that debt to the vast majority of taxpayers.

“Shifting the burden of debt from the wealthy to working Americans has a regressive impact that harms lower income families,” the governors wrote. “Borrowers with the most debt, such as $50,000 or more, almost exclusively have graduate degrees, meaning hourly workers will pay off the master’s and doctorate degrees of high salaried lawyers, doctors, and professors.”

Furthermore, they emphasized, “A high-cost degree is not the key to unlocking the American Dream – hard work and personal responsibility is. For many borrowers, they worked hard, made sacrifices, and paid off their debt.  For many others, they chose hard work and a paycheck rather than more school and a loan. Americans who did not choose to take out student loans themselves should certainly not be forced to pay for the student loans of others.”

The governors also criticized the poor timing and unintended consequences of the president’s proposal.

“At a time when inflation is sky high due to your unprecedented tax-and-spend agenda, your plan will encourage more student borrowing, incentivize higher tuition rates, and drive-up inflation even further, negatively impacting every American,” they wrote. “Even economists from your own party oppose your plan for raising demand and increasing inflation.”

Lastly, the governors underscored the president’s lack of authority to “cancel” student loan forgiveness, citing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who last year stated, “People think the President of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not. He can postpone, he can delay, but he does not have that power. That has to be an act of Congress.”

Gov. Gianforte sent the letter to President Biden with Govs. Kim Reynolds (IA), Kay Ivey (AL), Mike Dunleavy (AK), Doug Ducey (AZ), Asa Hutchinson (AR), Ron DeSantis (FL), Brian Kemp (GA), Brad Little (ID), Larry Hogan (MD), Mike Parson (MO), Pete Ricketts (NE), Chris Sununu (NH), Doug Burgum (ND), Mike DeWine (OH), Kevin Stitt (OK), Henry McMaster (SC), Kristi Noem (SD), Bill Lee (TN), Greg Abbott (TX), Spencer Cox (UT), and Mark Gordon (WY).

The governors’ letter to President Biden calling on him to immediately withdraw his plan shift the burden of student loan debt from borrowers to the American people can be viewed in full here.