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U.S. Representative Marie Glusenkamp Perez. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images.
U.S. Representative Marie Gluesenkamp Perez. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images.

Washington’s Marie Gluesenkamp Perez voted with Republicans to repeal student loan debt forgiveness

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez was one of two Democrats whose votes helped pass a bill to overturn student debt cancellation to the Senate.

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U.S. Representative Marie Glusenkamp Perez (D-Washington) aided a Republican party-line vote on Wednesday to stifle President Joe Biden’s plans to forgive a fraction of student loan debt, a case currently in the hands of the Supreme Court. 

The measure passed the House by 218-203, facing almost unanimous opposition from House Democrats, except that of Reps. Gluesenkamp Perez and Jared Golden (D-Maine), both of whom defected from their party to pass the bill. 

“Expansions of student debt forgiveness need to be matched dollar-for-dollar with investments in career & technical education. I can’t support the first without the other,” Gluesenkamp Perez wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning. 

Gluesenkamp Perez’s statement on Twitter is the only public response given by her office. Golden has not issued a statement. Neither responded to requests from the press, according to reporting from Insider

Student loan forgiveness once rested on a pending ruling by the United States Supreme Court, a decision expected to happen in June. Now, the Republican-led bill heads to the Democrat-controlled Senate, where it faces an uncertain outcome. 

The Republican Conference, with the support of Reps. Gluesenkamp Perez and Golden, won’t wait for the Supreme Court to issue a ruling and leveraged the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a legislative tool used to reverse final rules set forth by federal agencies to affront the Department of Education’s debt forgiveness mandate. 

Under the CRA — instituted in 1996 to provide additional oversight over federal agencies — Biden’s executive order to forgive student loan debt would first have to be tested by the House of Representatives and the Senate before it can go into effect. 

The Government Accountability Office, responding to Republican’s request as to whether Biden’s order could be subject to terms under the CRA, said the order “meets the definition of a rule under the CRA” and that “no exception applies.”

If the bill survives the Senate, borrowers will also shoulder interest payments paused during the pandemic.

Her first mark in Congress

Gluesenkamp Perez faced near-impossible odds in her election last year but caused a political upset when she emerged as the Democratic victor in a Republican district. In her first year in Congress, Gluesenkamp Perez, the owner of an automotive repair shop, has attempted to shape her image as a politician friendly to the working class. 

A day before voting to annul Biden’s efforts to lessen the student loan burden for borrowers, Gluesenkamp Perez partnered with Alaska’s Rep. Mary Peltola and Golden to create the Blue Dog coalition.

Gluesenkamp Perez serves as the coalition’s co-chair. 

“I believe the Blue Dogs can be a caucus for public servants like these, who prioritize fiscal stability, national security, rural America, and the dignity of blue-collar work. Our country needs public servants who are sick of clickbait politics, and who are ready to serve as independent voices and free thinkers in Congress,” a statement released by Gluesenkamp Perez Monday read. 

Gluesenkamp Perez’s vote to repeal Biden’s student loan forgiveness order shows otherwise. 

In Washington State, where Gluesenkamp Perez serves as the representative for its 3rd Congressional District, there are nearly 783,000 residents holding $28.2 billion in outstanding federal debt, according to reporting by the Seattle Times.  

Of the 783,000, the White House estimates almost half of the borrowers are eligible for the President’s debt relief program. 

“Using the trades as a way to undermine student debt cancelation is unacceptable. Doing so after having a $63,861 PPP loan forgiven is hypocritical and shameful,” Nina Turner, a former Ohio State Senator and political commentator wrote on Twitter in response to the vote. 

Gluesenkamp Perez obtained federal relief from loans to her automotive shop through the Paycheck Protection Program. 

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