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Ohio political leaders react to student loan forgiveness plan

Many are reacting to President Joe Biden’s announcement Wednesday wiping away federal student loan debt for millions of Americans.

News Center 7′s John Bedell looked into the the political implications of this decision, especially with the mid-term elections just months away.

>> Biden announces plan to forgive student loan debt, extend repayment pause

Republican and Democrat candidates in Ohio’s Governor and Senate races are sharing their thoughts about the move.

On Wednesday, President Biden touted wiping away some federal student loan debt for 45-million Americans as a big win.

“My campaign made a commitment— student debt relief. I am honoring that today,” the president said.

The move is drawing criticism from both sides of the aisle.

News Center 7 talked to Governor Mike DeWine on Thursday.

“I’m very sympathetic to anyone who has a student debt, I get it. But I’ve also heard from people who paid off their debt and they say, ‘well what about me?’ Where’s the equity, where’s the fairness to that?” DeWine said.

DeWine’s Democrat opponent in the governor’s race, former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, provided the following the statement:

“I was the first in my family to graduate from college - and I graduated with loans. For too many working families, the cost of higher education has now become unattainable. We need to help students afford the education they want, whether that’s a college degree, an apprenticeship, or something else. But this policy is not fair to the thousands of Ohioans who made the decision to not attend college because of the cost or for those who have already paid off their loans.”

>> Student loan forgiveness: What you need to know about the plan

News Center 7 got statements from the Republican and Democratic candidates for Ohio’s open senate seat.

JD Vance provided the following statement:

“Joe Biden has decided to bail out the group of people least in need – individuals with six figure incomes, and couples making nearly a quarter million dollars per year.

“If Joe Biden wanted to help people without juicing inflation, he’d force universities like Harvard and Yale to liquidate their multi-billion dollar endowments to pay for his corrupt bailout.

“I see that Tim Ryan has issued a mealy-mouthed statement on what Biden is doing. He should instead offer some leadership, and vote against Joe Biden when it actually counts.”

Tim Ryan provided the following statement:

“As someone who’s paying off my own family’s student loans, I know the costs of higher education are too high. And while there’s no doubt that a college education should be about opening opportunities, waiving debt for those already on a trajectory to financial security sends the wrong message to the millions of Ohioans without a degree working just as hard to make ends meet. “Instead of forgiving student loans for six-figure earners, we should be working to level the playing field for all Americans — including an across-the-board tax cut for working- and middle-class families, medical debt cancellation, targeted forgiveness for essential workers and more opportunities for student borrowers to refinance their loans, and investing in apprenticeships, universal community college, and workforce development and training programs so all Americans — not just college grads — have a shot at success.”

Doctor Mark Caleb Smith, the director of the center for political studies at Cedarville University, said he thinks the political implications of the president’s decisions go in two different directions.

“First, I think it probably does help the President with some of his progressive base,” Smith said. “On the other hand, I think that it probably does make it harder for Democrats to appeal to white voters. Especially those without a college degree. That’s really been the battleground group over the last couple of elections between Republicans and Democrats. I think the President’s decision probably made that a lot tougher for Democrats in the fall.”

Smith added if the Republicans retake the House in the midterms, there’s a chance they could file a lawsuit arguing the President does not have the Constitutional authority to forgive student loans, but he said we’ll have to wait and see whether this ends up in court.

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