A Fox News White House correspondent leveled a devastating question at White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre following the announcement of President Joe Biden’s decision to unilaterally forgive billions of dollars in student loans using the HEROES Act of 2003.
Jacqui Heinrich asked about the “legal basis for canceling student debt” during a Thursday news conference.
“The HEROES Act hinges on student debt cancelation being tied to the pandemic and that being a national emergency,” Heinrich said.
“But the administration argued in court that the pandemic is over at the southern border to lift Title 42. It’s so over that the government is going to stop buying vaccines in the fall and shift to the private sector, so how is this a national emergency? How is COVID a national emergency when it comes to student debt?”
JACQUI TIME: “The Heroes Act hinges on student debt…being tied to the pandemic & that being a national emergency, but the administration argued in court that [it’s] over…So, how is…COVID a national emergency when it comes to student debt?”
KJP: “It’s a very good question” pic.twitter.com/JmwUD97jjc
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) August 25, 2022
Jean-Pierre’s response was verbose and difficult to follow.
“Look, we use the HEROES Act because there are going to be some people when we lift the pause that’s still going to suffer,” she said.
“They’re still going to have a little bit of a hard time, and so that’s one of the reasons that we made this decision because as we’re lifting up the pause, yes, you know, some folks may — the having not to pay for two years has been helpful to them and were able to save and are probably going to be able to pay those monthly payments.
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“But there’s going to be some folks who are going to have a hard time because they’re just in a different bracket, right? They’ve probably had a hard time before. We have to remember this is a system,” Jean-Pierre said.
“So the other piece of that is a reform, right? Reforming the system as well so we can help nurses, so we can help construction workers, so we can help firefighters, and making sure that their [payments] are cut in half as well.
“Because, remember, these are some of our first respondents who also suffered so much from the past two years, so he wanted to make sure he gave them a little bit of relief, understanding that some folks are just going to have a little bit of a harder time even though we’re coming out of a pandemic and the economy has been turned back on because of the work that this president has done.”
You can watch Jean-Pierre’s entire garbled response on the White House’s YouTube channel, complete with follow-ups from Heinrich and other reporters.
Heinrich also pointed out the incongruity of the White House claiming the U.S. isn’t in a recession and touting economic growth while citing a need for massive student loan forgiveness.