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Final House effort to block Biden student loan plan falls short

Override attempt needed two-thirds vote, but court may have final say

Reps. Becca Balint, D-Vt., left, and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., walk through the crowd after speaking at the People's Rally for Student Debt Cancellation outside the Supreme Court on Feb. 28.
Reps. Becca Balint, D-Vt., left, and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., walk through the crowd after speaking at the People's Rally for Student Debt Cancellation outside the Supreme Court on Feb. 28. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans fell short Wednesday in a final legislative push to stop President Joe Biden’s student debt relief plan.

The House voted 221 to 206 — far short of the two-thirds threshold needed — on an attempted override of Biden’s veto of a resolution that would have scuttled the loan forgiveness proposal he proposed last year.

Ultimately, the legality of the proposal may be determined by the Supreme Court, which heard arguments in February on a pair of cases challenging Biden’s initiative. Justices are expected to issue a ruling by the conclusion of the term at the end of next week.

Biden announced the student loan relief program in August, fulfilling a campaign promise and winning applause from progressives, some of whom had sought a far higher debt relief threshold. The plan, which has been put on hold by court challenges, would cancel up to $10,000 in debt for most students, and up to $20,000 for those who received a Pell Grant.

About 26 million people have applied for the program and more than 16 million applications were approved, according to a fact sheet prepared by the White House. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that eliminating the program would cut spending by $320 billion this fiscal year.

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