Sean Hannity attacking Joe Biden over his student debt relief plan, calling it "The great Biden giveaway"

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Right-wing media attack Biden plan to relieve 30 million student loan borrowers as “vote buying”

After President Joe Biden unveiled a new plan to help tens of millions of Americans encumbered with student debt, conservative media slammed it as an attempt to “buy votes” in flagrant defiance of the Supreme Court, echoing their past attacks on various proposals intended to help Americans with the cost of college.

  • Biden unveiled a new student debt forgiveness plan

    • The White House on Monday announced a plan to relieve student loan debt for more than 30 million borrowers. On April 8, Biden announced his response to the Republican-controlled Supreme Court’s decision last year blocking his original student loan relief effort:

    Last June, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision blocking the Biden-Harris Administration’s original student debt relief plan, President Biden vowed to keep fighting to deliver student debt relief to borrowers held back by the burden of student loan debt. Immediately following that, the Department of Education began pursuing an alternative path to debt relief through negotiated rulemaking under the Higher Education Act.

    Today’s announcement lays out the plans the Biden-Harris Administration is pursuing through that effort. In total, these plans would fully eliminate accrued interest for 23 million borrowers, would cancel the full amount of student debt for over 4 million borrowers, and provide more than 10 million borrowers with at least $5,000 in debt relief or more. [The White House, 4/8/24]

    • New forgiveness plan uses a different legal authority than the one opposed by the Supreme Court. Vox reported: “Plan B invokes a different legal authority than the one used in 2022, builds off existing programs that haven’t faced the same kind of legal pushback, and is much more targeted, all in an attempt to avoid the fate that the first loan forgiveness plan faced at the Supreme Court.” [Vox, 4/8/24]
  • Right-wing media immediately attacked Biden's plan as “vote buying”

    • Fox Business host and former Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow: “Is there any more transparent election year vote buying that you have ever seen in your lifetime?” Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer agreed, responding, “It's so obvious.” Kudlow continued: “What I'm saying is, I don't think this vote-buying effect, or vote-buying effort by Biden, is not going to work. It's going to fail. People see right through it.” [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 4/9/24]
    • Fox host Lawrence Jones claimed Biden’s new plan “shows his laziness. Instead of working for the votes, going out there, talking with the American people, figuring out how to make life better, he is just going to buy the votes.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/9/24]
    • The Federalist: “Biden’s Latest Student Loan Bailout Has Election-Year Bribe Written All Over It.” [The Federalist, 4/9/24]
    • Fox contributor Newt Gingrich: “They're in a position to simply try to buy votes.” Gingrich added: “Most of the green initiative is buying votes. This whole student loan thing is buying votes. The effort they put into rewarding the teachers union is buying votes.” [Fox News, Hannity, 4/8/24]
    • Fox host Sean Hannity: “The president announced another bold new plan, basically, I would view it as kind of bribing voters with your tax dollars.” Hannity continued: “This week, another round of student loan forgiveness by the way, a unilateral act that the Supreme Court of our land ruled was unconstitutional. But the Biden's, they never let the rule of law get in the way of a good time paid for with your money.” [Fox News, Hannity, 4/8/24]
    • Newsmax host Greg Kelly: Biden is trying to “buy their votes” with student loan forgiveness. [Newsmax, Greg Kelly Reports, 4/8/24]
    • Turning Point USA's Charlie Kirk: “Joe Biden's plan for 'winning' in November: Buying votes with taxpayer money and calling it ‘student loan forgiveness.’” [Twitter/X, 4/8/24]
    • Newsmax host and former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka: Biden is “literally buying the votes of indebted students.” [Newsmax, Rob Schmitt Tonight, 4/8/24]
    • Fox contributor Bill McGurn: This is “just old fashioned trying to buy the votes for the election.” [Fox News, Special Report, 4/8/24]
    • Conservative radio host Bo Snerdly: Biden's student debt relief plan is “buying votes with taxpayer dollars.” [Twitter/X, 4/8/24]
    • Right-wing columnist Phil Kerpen: “Old Joe will do anything to transfer billions of dollars in student loans from borrowers to taxpayers -- by hook or by crook, lawfully or otherwise.  No regard for Congress or the courts.  Desperate and pathetic vote-buying scheme.” [Twitter/X, 4/8/24]
    • Discredited right-wing attorney Victoria Toensing: “Once again #BumblingJoe violates SCOTUS prohibition on Joe 'canceling' student debts. Debt not cancelled.  It's shifted to tax payers. He wants plumbers and electricians to pay debt for college grads. Called ‘buying’ election.” [Twitter/X, 4/8/24; Media Matters, 1/23/20]
    • Fox legal analyst Gregg Jarrett: “Joe Biden here is buying votes.” Jarrett added: “So desperate to get young people to reelect him, you know, he's really willing to undermine both Congress and the Supreme Court.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/8/24]
  • Conservative media have repeatedly attacked efforts to help students with the cost of college as vote buying

    • As the Biden administration defended the president’s policy of canceling up to $20,000 of student debt for millions of Americans against a Republican-backed challenge before the Supreme Court in early 2023, multiple conservatives attacked it as vote buying. OutKick founder Clay Travis claimed, “This was a transparent political attempt by Joe Biden to rig in his favor the 2022 election.” He later said that Biden “wanted to drive up young voters’ turnout as much as he could.” Fox contributor Liz Peek said, “You can't just dole out $400 billion to get votes, which is basically what this is all about.” Media Research Center’s Stephanie Hamill said “it’s almost like a bribery” of voters. Newsmax host Rob Schmitt said it’s a “vote-buying scheme” to get people “on the narcotic of social welfare.” [Media Matters, 3/1/23]
    • Fox personalities attacked another Biden student debt forgiveness plan as vote buying. Fox host Steve Doocy said another Biden plan was “a grab for votes,” and that “Joe Biden desperately needs the young people, particularly college kids, to vote for him.” Fox host Brian Kilmeade said Biden is “doing things to win votes.” Fox anchor Shannon Bream dismissed the move as a ploy to draw potential voters, saying, “They say this it’s an administrative fix to the past — just conveniently, though, [it] benefits 800,000 people who might be voting next time.” [Media Matters, 7/19/23]
    • Fox host Jesse Watters in June 2023: Biden is “wip[ing] their debts for votes.” [Fox News, The Five, 6/8/23]
    • In 2016, a Fox guest attacked then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's free college tuition plan as “a vote buying scheme.” [Fox News, Your World, 7/6/16]
    • Conservative media also attacked then-President Barack Obama's proposal to trim interest rates for federally subsidized student loans as vote buying. Former Fox host Andrea Tantaros said Obama was “bribing generations” to get reelected. Rush Limbaugh said it was a “push to try to buy the youth vote.” The Washington Times declared it a “gimmick” that “panders for youth votes.” [Media Matters, 4/25/12]