President Biden on Saturday again slammed Republicans who received small business relief loans during the COVID-19 pandemic but now criticize his action to forgive hundreds of billions in student loan debt.
During a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation event in Washington D.C., Biden compared his executive action to cancel $10,000 of federal student loan debt for certain borrowers making less than $125,000 per year, and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients, to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) established by the CARES Act, which passed Congress with bipartisan support during the Trump administration.
Several Republicans who are now critical of Biden’s student loan handout ran small businesses, or were associated with companies, that applied for and received PPP loans in 2020 and 2021, which have since been forgiven.
“I don’t wanna hear a word from those members of Congress, if you notice, whose families got tens of thousands of dollars and several million dollars in pandemic relief loan forgiveness,” Biden said Saturday. “The same ones criticizing. Give me a break. Come on.”
The White House Twitter account sparked a firestorm on social media in August after it targeted and shamed several prominent GOP members by name for taking out PPP loans, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., Kevin Hern, R-Okla., and Mike Kelly, R-Penn.
The New York Times published an article boasting about the attempt by the White House to paint Republicans as hypocrites but acknowledged in the seventh paragraph that the comparison “is not perfectly equivalent.”
“The P.P.P. loans were effectively designed to be forgiven,” The Times wrote. “The federal government offered them without the traditional standard of vetting for business loans in an effort to quickly distribute money to businesses that were struggling during the first years of the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly every company with 500 or fewer workers qualified for the low-interest loans, which were forgiven so long as the money went to permitted costs.”
During his address Saturday, Biden also slammed Republicans for criticizing him over the Inflation Reduction Act, a climate and health care bill that experts predict will do little to curb inflation.
“I’m so sick of Republicans saying we’re the big spenders. Give me a break. Give me a break,” Biden said, claiming the bill will reduce the federal deficit by $300 billion over the next 10 years.
“As a result, we can afford – I know I’m getting banged up by the Republicans, but bring it on – we can afford to cancel $10,000 in student debt and 20,000 bucks if you had a Pell Grant for Americans making under $125 grand,” he said.