Biden Delivers Billions More Student Debt Relief | Crooked Media
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December 06, 2023
What A Day
Biden Delivers Billions More Student Debt Relief

In This Episode

  • Senate Republicans blocked meaningful gun control once again Wednesday by stopping a Democratic measure that would have banned assault-style weapons. Unfortunately, the failed Congressional effort came on the same day as a mass shooting on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where three people were killed and a fourth wounded.
  • The Biden Administration approved another $4.8 billion in debt relief for over 80,000 student loan borrowers. So far, the administration canceled $132 billion in loan debt for more than 3.6 million people.
  • And in headlines: the fourth Republican presidential debate took place in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, ten fake electors in Wisconsin agreed to acknowledge President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election, and Senate Republicans blocked a bill to provide aid to Ukraine and Israel.


Show Notes:



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Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Thursday, December 7th. I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 


Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver and this is What a Day, the pod that knew Kevin McCarthy was a loser. But now he’s a quitter, too. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, the disgraced former speaker said yesterday he’s leaving Congress at the end of the year. 


Juanita Tolliver: I guess this means he can’t throw any more kidney shot elbows at any colleagues any more. [laughing] [music break] On today’s show, President Biden cancels nearly $5 billion dollars more in student loan debt. Plus, last night was another GOP presidential debate for second place behind Trump. 


[clip of Chris Christie] The fifth guy who doesn’t have the guts to show up and stand here. He’s the one who, as you just put it, is way ahead in the polls. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, we’ll recap that debate. 


Josie Duffy Rice: But first, we’re going to talk about another failed effort in Congress yesterday to pass some meaningful form of gun control. And unfortunately, it came when there was a mass shooting on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where three people were killed and a fourth wounded. The attack happened just before noon local time. And the suspect, who has not been identified by officials, is now dead after, quote unquote, “engaging with police.” It is not clear how he died or his motives. 


Juanita Tolliver: Of course, gun violence prevention legislation fails in Congress simultaneously as a mass shooting is happening because this is America. So yesterday, Senate Republicans blocked a measure put forth by Democrats that would have banned assault style weapons and instituted universal background checks for the umpteenth time. Can you tell us a bit about what happened? 


Josie Duffy Rice: This was an attempt by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to reauthorize the assault weapons ban that was first passed in 1994 and then expired ten years after that. So that ban covered some semiautomatic firearms and quote unquote, “large capacity ammunition magazines.” And while that law was in effect, gun violence decreased and then it expired and gun violence increased and then it increased again. And it increased again and again and again. 


Juanita Tolliver: That seems like the most simple math like– 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: –ban the assault weapons and there’s a decrease in gun violence. So what did Senate Republicans have to say for themselves? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Well, in a speech on the Senate floor, Republican Senator John Barasso said this: 


[clip of John Barasso] Democrat’s bumper sticker solution to gun ban to ban guns is not about safety. It’s about restricting lawful gun ownership. It’s about trying to label responsible gun owners as criminals. 


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s like something out of a dystopian movie that he would say it’s not about safety. Within minutes of a mass shooting. I mean, literally. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yes. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Minutes of a mass shooting. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yes. 


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s a bumper sticker legislation because it’s that simple. I am definitely sensitive to legislation that unnecessarily criminalizes people, as you know. But Barasso is just lying when he says that that’s his issue here, because we know there are other ways to make automatic weapons inaccessible and unavailable that affect manufacturers and don’t require overcriminalization. But that’s not what the issue is here. Democrats have come at this issue every which way they could, but Republicans won’t go for those because it actually isn’t about criminalization. It’s about Republicans believing any person should be able to shoot countless bullets at a college or a mall or an elementary school if they want. 


Juanita Tolliver: So this blockade by Republicans also came at a time when stats show how frequent mass shootings have become. Right?


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. And I should note that yesterday’s shooting in Las Vegas happened down the street from the site of the deadliest mass shooting in American history where 60 people were gunned down at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. And earlier this week, as you said, America broke the record for the highest number of mass shootings in one year with four or more victims. Last year was the prior record for 36. But this year, so far as we record this, we have had 39 mass shootings. That’s according to data from Northeastern University’s mass killing database. So remember, gun violence remains a very important issue, and you should demand that your local, state and national lawmakers do something now before another one happens. 


Juanita Tolliver: Translation, vote out the Republicans who keep standing in the way of gun violence prevention legislation. You know that works, too. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: Believe it or not, there are some productive things happening in government these days. Yesterday, the Biden administration announced that it has approved $4.8 billion dollars in additional federal student loan debt cancellation. 


Josie Duffy Rice: This is great news. I love to hear that. Cancelling student debt was obviously a big promise from Biden. And so how much has been cleared off the books so far? 


Juanita Tolliver: So far, the administration has canceled $132 billion dollars in student loan debt for more than 3.6 million borrowers. And all of that is in spite of the massive setback when the Supreme Court struck down President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program back in June. Also, let’s not forget that Missouri still has standing to challenge that same forgiveness program. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Obviously, there’s still a lot ahead, but how did the Biden administration cancel this latest round of debt? And also, who’s going to be impacted? Me, perhaps? That’s what I’m really asking. 


Juanita Tolliver: I mean, I feel like any student loan borrower across the country is like, do me, pick me next! 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. Right.


Juanita Tolliver: [laughing] So this approved relief comes because the administration fixed a glitch with the public service loan forgiveness program related to the tracked payments that these borrowers made in the past. Now that they’ve received appropriate credit for all of their payments, more than 80,000 people are going to get the relief that they are due. And the folks feeling that relief are teachers, military service members, nurses and other people working in the public sector who have been in repayment for 20 years, which is a ridiculously long time. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I wonder why these glitches never work in our favor. 


Juanita Tolliver: Mmm. 


Josie Duffy Rice: How come every glitch means that they got more money? And not that I got more money. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Where’s the glitch that just erases my debt? 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Josie Duffy Rice: That’s the glitch I want. 


Juanita Tolliver: A girl can dream. 


Josie Duffy Rice: A girl can dream. 


Juanita Tolliver: In a statement, the president said, quote, “I won’t back down from using every tool at our disposal to get student loan borrowers the relief they need to reach their dreams. And it sounds like that’s what he’s doing.” 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, it really does. And it sort of seems like they’re not done yet. So what are the other proposals floating around for more student loan relief by the administration? 


Juanita Tolliver: Earlier this week, the Department of Education announced that they are developing formal rules known as the negotiated rulemaking process for what forgiveness could look like. They released a draft regulation proposal which would give student loan relief to four groups of people. So listen up, y’all. First up, are borrowers with balances greater than what they started with? Then there’s borrowers who entered repayment decades ago. Third, we have borrowers who are eligible for existing relief but haven’t applied yet. And last hour, borrowers whose schools or programs failed to meet earning expectations. Now for that last one, that would include schools that have lost federal aid due to misconduct. Under this draft proposal, the relief could look like $10,000 to address overwhelming interest that has accrued on loans or balances being completely erased. So there’s a big range here. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, I have to say, I graduated from law school ten years ago and I owe more money than I did when I started repayment. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yikes. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. That’s a real thing. And I’m glad to see that there want to get some relief there. So what happens next with this rule making process? Like, how does that work? 


Juanita Tolliver: Well, the rulemaking committee is set to meet again later this month. And once they agree to the terms, the proposal will be released for public comment next year. It is a process, girl. That’s I think that’s the simplest way to put it. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: And it is also another tool that could provide more people with student debt relief, which we know is going to be a big issue as we head into 2024. Student loan borrowers are voters, and they will want to know what Biden is doing for them. And this proposal is something he’s going to want to emphasize. I mean, that is if he can pull it off, we’ll keep following this process and bringing you updates. But that’s the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. [music break]. 




Juanita Tolliver: Let’s wrap up with some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Juanita Tolliver: Sweet home, Alabama, where the fourth and hopefully final Republican presidential debate took place yesterday. This time around, only four GOP candidates took the debate stage. They included Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Take a listen to what the scene was like. Go ahead, cue the chaos. 


[clip of Chris Christie] I’m not done yet. 


[clip of Vivek Ramaswamy] Well, this is. 


[clip of Chris Christie] Now look. 


[clip of Megyn Kelly] Hold on. [banter]


[clip of Ron DeSantis] There’s going to be a new sheriff in town and these drug cartels better buckle up. 


[clip of Elizabeth Vargas] Thank you.


Josie Duffy Rice: Okay.


Juanita Tolliver: Yikes. What? 


Josie Duffy Rice: I truly feel like that was just two parts of a conversation with my toddler. 


Juanita Tolliver: Oh, my goodness. As for the party’s front runner, Donald Trump, he was absent once again. And this time around, he decided to hold a fundraiser in Florida instead of participating in the debate. Top of mind during this presidential debate was who might come out as a clear Trump alternative. So far, it appears to be a contest of sorts between DeSantis and Haley and just fewer than 20 minutes in, both Ramaswamy and DeSantis were already coming for Haley. 


[clip of Nikki Haley] I love all the attention, fellas. Thank you for that. 


Juanita Tolliver: And let’s not forget when Chris Christie said this to Ramaswamy. 


[clip of Chris Christie] This is the fourth debate. The fourth debate that you would be voted in the first 20 minutes as the most obnoxious blowhard in America. So shut up for a little while. [cheers]


[clip of Vivek Ramaswamy] I’m going to respond to that.


Josie Duffy Rice: Oh, Jesus. 


Juanita Tolliver: Oh, my God. So as you could hear, it was chaotic. It was messy. Yikes. Among topics that were discussed were the Israel-Hamas war, immigration, the economy, and more. And Christmas came early for the WAD squad in America. Last night’s debate was the last known Republican debate before the first primary, just weeks from now, Iowa’s January 15th caucuses, which we’ll be covering here on the show. So stay tuned. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, I wish it was the last one overall, but we’ll take what we can get. Ten so-called fake electors in Wisconsin have finally agreed to acknowledge President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. That’s according to a settlement with Wisconsin Democrats announced yesterday. The ten Republicans also said they will withdraw their inaccurate filings and will not serve as electors in 2024 or any other presidential election in which Trump is on the ballot. They also agreed to state that their actions were, quote, “part of an attempt to improperly overturn the 2020 presidential election results.” Wisconsin Democrats sued the Republicans last year and alleged that they engaged in a civil conspiracy to defraud voters. The settlement is the first time that pro-Trump electors have revoked their false filings. There’s more news about fake electors, this time in Nevada. A grand jury yesterday indicted six fake electors there. These Republicans submitted documents falsely declaring Trump the winner of the state in the 2020 election. Nevada is now the third state to seek charges against fake electors, along with Georgia and Michigan. 


Juanita Tolliver: Senate Republicans blocked a vote to provide aid to Ukraine and Israel yesterday, saying that it doesn’t properly address immigration and border security. We talked about this package in depth on Tuesday’s show. But just as a refresher, the White House has been urgently trying to pass the $111 billion dollar emergency supplemental package that will provide assistance to the US’s allies abroad. But President Biden has been warning Congress that the funding for Ukraine is running out and that national security is at risk if they fail to pass it. It’s not a complete surprise that the Senate GOP blocked it since Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Republicans would vote no. Senator Bernie Sanders also voted no with the Republicans. He said that he opposes giving aid to Israel unconditionally unless President Benjamin Netanyahu’s government changes his practice. That, he said, is, quote, “in violation of international law.” Once all senators voted, it was tied at 50/50. But then before the result was locked in, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer changed his vote to a no to preserve his ability to bring up the bill again. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Moving to a crazy story out of Louisiana where a state judge has thrown out the results of a local sheriff’s election and ordered a second runoff. For context, last month, candidates John Nicolson and Henry Whitehorn went head to head in a runoff election in the race to be Caddo Parish sheriff. More than 43,000 people went to the polls to cast their ballots. And Whitehorn, a Democrat, won by a stunning one vote margin, one vote. Nicholson, who’s Republican, went on to challenge his loss in court, claiming that the counting process was rushed and that the ballots need to be counted again by hand for accuracy. But even after county officials found three new ballots, Whitehorn still came out on top. But yesterday, a state judge ruled against Whitehorn and in favor of the Republican Nicholson. The judge also voided the results of last month’s runoff and ordered another runoff election. In his decision, the judge wrote, quote, “It is legally impossible to know what the true vote should have been, which is just not true. Not true. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. 


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s not true. It’s not legally impossible. It’s not practically impossible. It’s not theoretically impossible. It’s just not impossible. Whitehorn’s campaign is expected to appeal the decision. 


Juanita Tolliver: I’m glad they’re planning to appeal. And the other little nugget I’ll throw in there for y’all listeners is that four judges had to recuse themself from hearing this case because of their relationship with the Republican candidate. So just let that sink in to your mind about how ridiculous things are down in Louisiana right now. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yep. 


Juanita Tolliver: And finally, for a not so happy meal, a woman who threw a bowl of hot food in the face of a Chipotle worker in Ohio has been sentenced to a month in jail and to work behind a fast food counter. She was convicted for one count of assault after the incident in September. Take a listen to this clip. You can hear the attack by 39 year old Rosemary Haynes, prompted by her anger over her order, which for the record, had been remade for her several times. [indistict sounds of suprise and anger] Absolutely not. Absolutely not. Oh, my goodness. Judge Timothy Gilligan gave Rosemary Haynes the choice of a 90 day jail sentence or a 30 day sentence on top of 60 days working in a fast food job. He asked her, quote, “Do you want to walk in her shoes for two months and learn how people should treat people? Or do you want to do your time in jail?” Haynes responded, quote, “I’d like to walk in her shoes.” Gilligan said it was the first time he has handed down this kind of sentence. Meanwhile, Emily Russell, the Chipotle worker who was the target of Haynes’ attack, said that she quit her job a month after the incident and is still suffering from the stress of that day. I’m thinking about Emily Russell right now because as a former fast food worker girlie myself, this is ridiculous. One making her food several times, two being assaulted at work. No one deserves this. 


Josie Duffy Rice: No. 


Juanita Tolliver: No one deserves this. 


Josie Duffy Rice: No, absolutely not. 


Juanita Tolliver: Lots of thoughts. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yup. 


Juanita Tolliver: But our thoughts are mainly with Emily Russell. We hope that you get the healing you need after this traumatic episode. And those are the headlines. 




Juanita Tolliver: That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Be nice to fast food workers and tell your friends to listen. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And if you’re into reading and not just Kevin McCarthy’s goodbye letter like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. So check it out and subscribe at I’m Josie Duffy Rice.


Juanita Tolliver: I’m Juanita Tolliver. 


[spoken together] And we’re finally safe from Kevin’s elbows. 


Josie Duffy Rice: That’s someone that Chipotle lady can fight. She didn’t fight him. 


Juanita Tolliver: Oh, yes. Yes. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Let’s just put them together. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yes. Yes. Yes. Cage match. Sign me up. Let’s do it. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. There’s someone for everyone. And the person for Chipotle lady is Kevin McCarthy. [laugh] [music break]


Juanita Tolliver: What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla. Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf are our associate producers. And our showrunner is Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.