Letter to the Times: Student debt relief is on hold, thanks in part to Derek Schmidt

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Note: The Lawrence Times runs opinion columns and letters to the Times written by community members with varying perspectives on local issues. These pieces do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Times staff.

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If you have requested student debt relief under President Biden’s recent $10,000 debt-relief plan, or you know someone who has, you won’t be getting that relief any time soon, and for that you can thank Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who is running to be our next governor.

Representing the State of Kansas, Schmidt (along with five other states) sued Biden. Under Biden’s plan, if you make less than $125,000 annually, you can request up to $10,000 in student-debt relief. Since rolling out the plan, 22 million Americans have requested this relief. 

So why would Schmidt oppose helping millions of Americans be just a little better off? Because Schmidt favors big business over hardworking, middle-class folks.

In the lawsuit, Schmidt challenges Biden’s plan by arguing that it harms the revenues of student loan servicing companies based in Missouri. Think about it: Schmidt is challenging Biden’s student-loan forgiveness plan — a plan that will help hundreds of thousands of everyday Kansans — because it might hurt the bottom line of student debt loan servicing companies. Let that sink in.

Schmidt favors big business and special interests over everyday Kansans. I can’t imagine he’ll act any differently if he is elected governor. 

And if you’re wondering what Kris Kobach has in mind when he says his primary goal as attorney general should he be elected is to sue the Biden administration often, this is what to expect — countless lawsuits that advocate for policies that harm most Kansans and waste taxpayer money. 

Schmidt’s lawsuit was, after all, dismissed last week because the judge determined that Schmidt didn’t have standing to sue. Schmidt has appealed that decision, which is why Biden’s student-debt relief plan is temporarily halted, and millions of Americans must wait for debt relief while the lawsuit is litigated. 

If Kobach is elected, expect many more harmful and wasteful lawsuits just like Schmidt’s. So, I ask Kris Kobach, “Who is Sue Biden?”

— Amii N. Castle (she/her), Lawrence

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