Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) told CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday that President Biden prioritized the wrong people in his student loan relief announcement this week—despite previously calling for that relief just years prior.
The House representative and current Democratic nominee for the state’s open Senate seat admonished Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for some recipients on State of the Union. “There are a lot of people hurting in our society right now,” he said. “People are getting crushed with inflation, crushed with gas prices, food prices, and all the rest. And I think a targeted approach right now really does send the wrong message.”
But Ryan’s objection flew in the face of an October 2018 tweet in which he pleaded for student debt relief. He followed that tweet with House votes in 2020 that supported $10,000 in student debt relief.
“Student debt is out of control,” he tweeted in 2018. “If we can bail out the banks who did everything wrong, we can help out the students who did everything right.”
It’s opened him up to criticism from his Trump-backed opponent J.D. Vance, who chastised Ryan as having “flip-flopped on every side of the student debt issue” in a Tucker Carlson Tonight appearance on Thursday.
The tweet also did not escape Bash, who quoted it back to Ryan. “Isn’t that what President Biden’s policy is trying to do?” she asked.
“We’re not saying that there’s not a significant burden here,” said Ryan, who admitted he’s still helping pay his wife’s student loans off. “The cost of college is outrageous, and but there’s nothing in here to control that cost.”
Ryan proposed a broader tax cut for working-class Americans or for those with medical debt, which he argued would be better suited than one tailored solely to those who attended college.
“I think we’ve got to have a broader package here, and I would certainly support something like that,” he said. “But I think the general tax cuts [is] the best way to go.”