The White House press secretary estimates that the Biden student loan program will cost $24B a year



CNN

President Joe Biden Student Loan Forgiveness Program The cost is about $24 billion a year, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told CNN Thursday evening.

“If you look at the average cash flow, if 75% of the people who take it, take the president’s student loan cancellation program, it’s about $24 billion a year,” he said. “Don Lemon Tonight .”

Asked by Lemon whether the White House would release a detailed cost estimate, Jean-Pierre said he would share more details once he sees how many Americans are taking advantage of the program.

The White House struggled Second day In response to questions about Biden’s plan, the president said he was waiting until he was “fiscally balanced” before releasing the plan and had no way of knowing. How much does the project cost?

At a news conference early Thursday, Jean-Pierre continued to insist that the plan to cancel thousands of dollars in federal student loans for millions of Americans “will be paid for in full because of the work this president has done on the economy.”

Asked specifically if the administration had a better idea of ​​the total price tag for the plan, Jean-Pierre began his response by saying, “The president’s record on fiscal responsibility is second to none,” before recounting his list of economic accomplishments. But he did not provide an estimate of how much the project would cost during the conference.

“When it comes to cost it all depends on how many canceled loans are actually expected to be repaid, before we get a real sense of how many borrowers actually take up the opportunity,” he said.

Throughout the presentation, The press secretary was pressed on the numbers. He said the administration doesn’t believe the move will increase the deficit because “we’ve done a good job of reducing the $1.7 trillion … deficit.” Specifies the management plan That’s how much the federal deficit will shrink in fiscal year 2022 — and “return $50 billion a year” to the Treasury when student loan repayments begin in December.

He said the Treasury was “getting zero for the last two years” because of the suspension of repayments, but on Wednesday Bharat Ramamurthy, deputy director of the National Economic Council, said about $2 billion a month was being repaid by borrowers during the suspension. Typically up to $6 billion per month.

The White House offered a more pointed defense of its student loan cancellation plan on Twitter, calling out GOP critics of the Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness.

“Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green Forgives $183,504 in PPP Loans” White House tweet Biden said the plan was in response to criticism from the Georgia Republican Party. “Congressman Matt Gaetz is forgiven $482,321 in PPP loans,” another responded to similar complaints from a Florida lawmaker.

The White House tweeted similar responses to criticism from Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, Vern Buchanan of Florida, and Markwayne Mullin and Kevin Hearn of Oklahoma.

Asked Thursday if the administration would eventually release a cost estimate, Jean-Pierre said “the education sector will be at the forefront.”

Asked why the president waited so long to make his decision to cancel the debt, Biden said he “wanted to do it in a fiscally balanced way. And there was that legal review. … We wanted to make sure that legal review was done.”

But Jean-Pierre insisted the administration “does not see this as irresponsible”, pressing for a public cost estimate and how it could be fiscally responsible without any details on how the project would be paid for or who would pay for it.

“We don’t see this as irresponsible,” he said. “We see this as a fiscally responsible, balanced approach to doing this. I remember people saying, ‘Why don’t you do $50,000?’ We make sure we save and do it in a smart, fiscally responsible way.

Ramamurthy gave CNN’s Bill Mattingly more explanation on Wednesday about the difficulty of providing a top-line number.

Without knowing how many borrowers are signing up, it would be difficult to know the total cost, he said. “It plays a big role in what the cost will be,” he said.

But beyond that, he said, other factors make it difficult to provide a firm number. There are different estimates of default rates, he said, which affects the total number. He also said that beneficiaries of the relief would get additional tax revenue if they start small businesses or buy houses.

This story was updated Thursday with additional information.

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