Critics ripped into Joe Biden after the president falsely claimed that his student loan payout plan passed Congress.
During a town hall sponsored by NowThis News on Sunday, Biden flubbed a comment about his student loan relief plan, which was executed through executive action and was not passed through Congress.
“You’re probably aware I just signed a law that’s being challenged by my Republican colleagues—the same people who got PPP loans—during the, up to, in some cases up to five, six hundred thousand dollars. They have no problem with that—the individuals in Congress that got those,” Biden said.
He then reiterated the details of his plan, which allow for up to $20,000 in loan forgiveness for Pell grant recipients, and up to $10,000 for all other college graduates.
“It’s passed, I got it passed by a vote or two, and it’s in effect,” Biden incorrectly claimed.
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Critics on social media, including a number of journalists, quickly made note of Biden’s comment, with some wondering why fact-checkers weren’t weighing in on the president’s falsehood, and others wondering if Biden was even aware that what he said was wrong.
“President Biden claims his student loan executive order is a law that was passed by Congress and signed by him,” columnist Eddie Zipperer said. “If this is a lie, it’s beyond the pale. If Biden thinks this is true, then he has no clue what’s happening around him.”
Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle made a similar observation, noting that Biden was either intentionally misrepresenting his student loan payout plan in “Trumpian fashion,” or he legitimately could not distinguish between a bill and an executive order.
“Having willfully violated his oath of office by issuing an executive order he knows is flatly illegal—and having then tried to dodge review by the courts by amending it on the fly —Biden is now lying about it having gone through Congress,” National Review writer Charles C. W. Cooke tweeted.
Some on Twitter defended the president, claiming that the clip of Biden was taken out of context. Republican National Committee Rapid Response Deputy Director Jacob Schneider shot back, providing a lengthier clip of Biden’s comments.
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Several other Twitter users also slammed Biden’s comments from the town hall.
Biden’s plan calls for the federal government to cancel $10,000 in student loan debt – $20,000 for Pell grant recipients – for borrowers who earn up to $125,000 a year or married couples who make up to $250,000. The Congressional Budget Office has said the program will cost about $400 billion over the next three decades.
The Justice Department is defending the program, arguing that it is supported by the HEROES Act, a 2003 law that allows the U.S. Secretary of Education to “waive or modify” provisions that apply to federal student loan programs in cases of national emergencies.
“COVID-19 is such an emergency,” the DOJ argued in a court filing.
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.