Politics

Lawmakers Who Broke With Their Party on Student Debt Relief

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Trailing only mortgages, student loans account for the second largest share of consumer debt in the United States. Student debt has more than doubled in the U.S. since 2010, and according to the Federal Reserve, Americans now collectively hold nearly $1.8 trillion in unpaid student loans. Among those burdened with student debt, the average balance is estimated to be around $40,500 — and for many, such debt could be a lifetime burden.

For most Democrats on Capitol Hill, as well as President Joe Biden, ballooning student loan debt represents a threat to financial security for millions of Americans. It may also signal looming risks in the financial sector. Similar to the housing bubble that contributed to the Great Recession, if delinquency rates rise, student loan asset-backed securities could trigger a systemic economic crisis.

Solutions to the problem have, so far, proved elusive. In July 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness program. In the wake of the 6-3 ruling, Biden launched the Saving on a Valuable Education plan, or SAVE, which sets caps on interest accrual and lowers monthly payments for eligible borrowers. (Here is a look at the most expensive colleges in America.)

According to the Biden administration, SAVE will cost taxpayers $156 billion over the next 10 years, but the Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will be closer to $230 billion. Citing opposition to deficit spending, among other grievances, House Republicans introduced H.J. Res. 88, a resolution to overturn the SAVE plan, and on Dec. 7, 2023, the measure passed the House by a 21 vote margin.

As is often the case, lawmakers largely voted down party lines. There were some notable exceptions, however, and had more Democratic lawmakers been present, or adopted the party position, the measure would not have made it out of the chamber.

Using voting record data from the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, 24/7 Wall St. identified the lawmakers who broke with party leadership on student debt relief. Our list includes all 36 House members who did not vote on the resolution, or who voted with the opposition party.

Among the 36 congressional representatives on this list, 24 are Democrats and 12 are Republicans. While the vast majority of these lawmakers did not vote on this issue, two voted against their party, and both were Democrats.

The resolution to overturn Biden’s student debt relief plan is now scheduled to move through the U.S. Senate. Of course, should H.J. Res. 88 make it out of the senate chamber, President Biden is widely expected to veto the legislation and keep the SAVE plan intact. (Here is a look at the most partisan issues in American politics.)

Rep. Gabe Amo; Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District

House Speaker Johnson Holds Ceremonially Swearing In For Rep.-Elect Gabe Amo (R-RI)
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  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Ken Buck; Colorado’s 4th Congressional District

Donald Trump Holds A Campaign Rally In Colorado Springs
Source: 2020 Getty Images / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Republican
  • Party position: 208 House Republicans voted against student debt relief

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver; Missouri’s 5th Congressional District

Joe Biden Campaigns In Kansas City Ahead Of Tuesday's Primary
Source: 2020 Getty Images / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Angie Craig; Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District

President Biden Speaks In Minneapolis As Part Of His Investing In America Tour
Source: 2023 Getty Images / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. John R. Curtis; Utah’s 3rd Congressional District

Source: George Frey / Getty Images
  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Republican
  • Party position: 208 House Republicans voted against student debt relief

Rep. Donald G. Davis; North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District

House Intelligence Chair Turner Warns Of Looming National Security Threat
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  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Monica De La Cruz; Texas’s 15th Congressional District

House Lawmakers Work On Funding Deal As Possible Government Shutdown Looms
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  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Republican
  • Party position: 208 House Republicans voted against student debt relief

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier; California’s 10th Congressional District

House Rules Committee Meets To Formulate Rules On Impeaching President Trump
Source: 2019 Getty Images / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Chuck Edwards; North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District

House Lawmakers Work Towards Electing New Speaker On Capitol Hill
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  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Republican
  • Party position: 208 House Republicans voted against student debt relief

Rep. Veronica Escobar; Texas’s 16th Congressional District

House Democrats Address The Media After Caucus Meeting
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  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Lizzie Fletcher; Texas’s 7th Congressional District

Pelosi, Female Representatives Discuss Legislation To Protect Reproductive Freedom
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  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Sylvia R. Garcia; Texas’s 29th Congressional District

Bipartisan House Legislators Hold A News Conference To Discuss The
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  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Robert Garcia; California’s 42nd Congressional District

House Hearing Examines The National Security Implications Of Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena
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  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Jared F. Golden; Maine’s 2nd Congressional District

Source: Allison Shelley / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Position on student debt relief: Voted against student debt relief
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Steven Horsford; Nevada’s 4th Congressional District

Vice President Harris Speaks At Culinary Workers Union Event In Las Vegas
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  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer; Maryland’s 5th Congressional District

Source: Win McNamee / Getty Images
  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Jared Huffman; California’s 2nd Congressional District

Past Due: People's State Of The Union Event Calls For Bold Action On Climate, Jobs And Justice
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  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee; Texas’s 18th Congressional District

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  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Sara Jacobs; California’s 51st Congressional District

U.S. Capitol Commemorates First Anniversary Of January 6 Attack
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  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove; California’s 37th Congressional District

Democratic Lawmakers Unveil Resolution To Affirm The Ratification Of The Equal Rights Amendment
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  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Susie Lee; Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District

Democratic Incumbent Steve Sisolak Campaigns For Governor In Las Vegas
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  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez; New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District

House Subcommittee On Elections Holds Hearing On Voting In America
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  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Zoe Lofgren; California’s 18th Congressional District

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Kevin McCarthy; California’s 20th Congressional District

Source: Win McNamee / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Republican
  • Party position: 208 House Republicans voted against student debt relief

Rep. Max L. Miller; Ohio’s 7th Congressional District

House Lawmakers Work Towards Electing New Speaker On Capitol Hill
Source: 2023 Getty Images / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Republican
  • Party position: 208 House Republicans voted against student debt relief

Rep. Carol D. Miller; West Virginia’s 1st Congressional District

New Mexico And Wyoming Governors Testify On Methane Pollution
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  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Republican
  • Party position: 208 House Republicans voted against student debt relief

Rep. Gwen Moore; Wisconsin’s 4th Congressional District

House Democrats Speak On Child Benefits Of Build Back Better Act
Source: 2021 Getty Images / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Ralph Norman; South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District

Source: Drew Angerer / Getty Images
  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Republican
  • Party position: 208 House Republicans voted against student debt relief

Rep. Ilhan Omar; Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District

Source: Alex Wroblewski / Getty Images
  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez; Washington’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Gallego Welcomes New Hispanic Members To Congress
Source: 2022 Getty Images / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Position on student debt relief: Voted against student debt relief
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Dean Phillips; Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District

Democratic Presidential Candidate Dean Phillips Holds Campaign Rally In Manchester, New Hampshire On Eve Of Primary
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  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Katie Porter; California’s 47th Congressional District

Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Democratic
  • Party position: 189 House Democrats voted for student debt relief

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers; Washington’s 5th Congressional District

Source: Paul Morigi / Getty Images
  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Republican
  • Party position: 208 House Republicans voted against student debt relief

Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar; Florida’s 27th Congressional District

Republicans Holds Press Conference Outside White House To Address Policy Towards Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Colombia
Source: 2022 Getty Images / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Republican
  • Party position: 208 House Republicans voted against student debt relief

Rep. Victoria Spartz; Indiana’s 5th Congressional District

House Lawmakers Work Towards Electing New Speaker On Capitol Hill
Source: 2023 Getty Images / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Republican
  • Party position: 208 House Republicans voted against student debt relief

Rep. Michael Waltz; Florida’s 6th Congressional District

Marco Rubio And Ron DeSantis Campaign In Orlando One Day Before Midterms
Source: 2022 Getty Images / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Position on student debt relief: Did not vote
  • Party: Republican
  • Party position: 208 House Republicans voted against student debt relief

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