LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Rep. Andy Barr believes President Joe Biden's student loan forgiveness plan sends the country a bad message.
"It sends a very bad signal to the American people that you can incur debt and have the taxpayers bail you out," said Barr.
Barr brought up student loan forgiveness while speaking at the Commerce Lexington lunch on Tuesday, calling the plan unfair.
Barr later told LEX 18 that the plan is unfair to those who paid off their student loans and those who did not go to college.
"It's unfair to the millions and millions of Americans who incurred student loan debts and then worked hard to pay it off," said Barr. "What signal does it send to those hard-working Americans who did pay it off? Why don't they get the same type of special treatment?"
"Secondly, there are millions and millions of additional Americans who didn't go to college. In fact, the majority of Americans didn't," added Barr. "And now, they are being asked to pay off the student loans of Americans who went to college or graduate school. That is a huge transfer of wealth from low and middle-income Americans to, in some cases, very high-income Americans. That's not fair."
According to the White House, no high-income Americans will qualify for loan forgiveness.
"The Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in debt cancellation to Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the Department of Education, and up to $10,000 in debt cancellation to non-Pell Grant recipients," according to the White House fact sheet. "Borrowers are eligible for this relief if their individual income is less than $125,000 ($250,000 for married couples)."
"It focuses the benefit on middle class and working families," said Biden.
With student debt standing at $1.7 trillion, some believe something needs to change. Barr says he doesn't disagree with that, but he believes the way forward is to get schools to lower tuition costs.
"What we need to do is incentivize institutions of higher education to control their costs better," said Barr.