Five years after U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell aggressively pushed a $1.9 trillion tax cut package that disproportionately benefited corporations and the wealthiest Americans, progressives on Wednesday were uninterested in his complaints about President Joe Biden’s cancellation of some student debt for working Americans.
“You should sit this one out,” government watchdog Public Citizen suggested after McConnell (R-Ky.) lamented the cancellation plan as a “slap in the face” to borrowers who have paid their debt or didn’t go to college.
McConnell warned that by canceling $10,000 in student debt for borrowers who earn $125,000 or less per year, and an additional $10,000 for people who received Pell Grants, the White House is “taking money and purchasing power away from working families and redistributing it to their favored friends.”
Political observers noted on Wednesday that Biden’s plan is likely to greatly increase purchasing power for families who have been making monthly student loan payments. In addition to wiping out monthly payments for millions of people who carry loan balances of $10,000 or less, the plan includes new rules for income-based repayment plans, ensuring borrowers pay no more than 5% of their discretionary income rather than 10%.
“How dare we try to make life better for the next generation,” tweeted Bryan Toporek of Bleacher Report in response to complaints from McConnell and other right-wing critics. “The horror.”
Political columnist Liz Dye compared McConnell’s comments to hypothetical claims that new gender discrimination laws are “a slap in the face” to anyone who has been sexually harassed in the past.
“Sounds stupid, no?” she tweeted.
Martina Jackson, a Democratic state House candidate in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, replied to the Republican leader’s comments on Twitter, telling him, “I have paid student debt.”
“It’s not a slap in the face,” Jackson said. “It’s a step in the right direction. We shouldn’t be going [into] debt for getting an education.”