The White House has lashed out at Congressional Republicans who criticized the Biden administration’s student loan debt forgiveness plan.
In a long Twitter thread Thursday, the White House lashed out at Republicans in Congress who criticized the student loan forgiveness plan in media appearances Wednesday, attempting to paint them as hypocrites because they took out Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans during the COVID pandemic, which were later forgiven. Conservatives fired back, pointing out the vast difference between loans meant to blunt the impact of COVID lockdowns and loans taken out voluntarily by college students.
The White House began its thread by calling out Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who criticized the student loan decision in an appearance on Newsmax Wednesday. “Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene had $183,504 in PPP loans forgiven,” the White House tweeted.
Next, the White House targeted Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), who echoed Greene’s criticism on Fox Business. “Congressman Vern Buchanan had over $2.3 million in PPP loans forgiven,” they wrote.
Then the White House went after Reps. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Kevin Hern (R-OK), and Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), who criticized the decision on Twitter.
“Congressman Markwayne Mullin had over $1.4 million in PPP loans forgiven,” the White House wrote in response to Mullin’s tweet.
“Congressman Kevin Hern had over $1 million in PPP loans forgiven,” they responded to Hern.
“Congressman Mike Kelly had $987,237 in PPP loans forgiven,” the wrote over Kelly’s tweet.
The White House also went after Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who criticized the Biden administration’s latest aid package to Ukraine. “Congressman Matt Gaetz had $482,321 in PPP loans forgiven,” they wrote.
Conservatives on Twitter fired back at the White House’s messaging, pointing out that the Paycheck Protection Program, established by the CARES Act in 2020, was meant to provide employers with a safety net to offset some of the costs of keeping people employed during COVID lockdowns, and were easy to forgive. But the Biden administration and Democratic leaders have previously said that President Joe Biden could not forgive student loans unilaterally, and student loans are different because they were voluntarily taken out by college students.
“So it is now the White House’s position that if the government forces you to shut down your business and provides you just compensation to keep people employed, that’s the same thing as you failing to pay the college loans you voluntarily undertook,” Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro tweeted. “Geniuses.”
“Obviously someone passed around a memo deciding to compare PPP to student loans when the programs have entirely different purposes…” NewsNation reporter Zaid Jilani wrote in a Twitter thread. “Politicians and nonprofits, most of whom supported PPP, are retroactively portraying PPP as a privilege or giveaway when it was really just a backstop to prevent mass worker layoffs after govt forced businesses to close.”
“This is the first time I can recall that an administration started attacking a program they themselves support in an improvised effort to defend another program they proposed,” he added.
“So you’re saying that the government forces my business to close, and I have to take a PPP loan to pay my employees during that time, and then later that same government will put me in a database and use it to attack me,” journalist Stephen L. Miller tweeted. “The WH Twitter account didn’t think this one through.”
“Imagine thinking taking money from the government after it forced your business to close is the same thing as willingly taking out a student loan and expecting someone else to pay it back,” journalist Kassy Dillon added.
Biden himself mocked a reporter during his announcement Wednesday for asking a question about whether the student loan forgiveness was fair to those who had paid off their loans already.