Ocasio-Cortez Rejects 'Scarcity Mindset' as GOP Attacks Student Debt Relief

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, on Saturday rejected what she called the "scarcity mindset" after Republicans criticized canceling student loan debt.

The Democratic lawmaker was asked in an Instagram post about how canceling student debt helps those who have already paid off their loans.

"Maybe student loan forgiveness doesn't impact you. That doesn't make it bad. I am sure there are certainly other things that student loan borrowers' taxes pay for that you benefit from. We can do good things and reject the scarcity mindset that says doing something good for someone else comes at the cost of something for ourselves," Ocasio-Cortez said.

The congresswoman added that not every program has an impact on everyone, and that "people with apartments pay for first time homeowner benefits. Young people contribute to Medicare for our seniors. People who take public transit pay for car infrastructure."

Ocasio-Cortez rejects 'scarcity mindset' about student-loan-debt relief
Above, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, is seen on Capitol Hill on June 8 in Washington, D.C. Ocasio-Cortez on Saturday rejected what she called the “scarcity mindset” after Republicans criticized canceling student loan debt. Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

Her response comes after President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced a relief plan to forgive outstanding federal student loan debt for some borrowers. Biden said that those who have student loans and make less than $125,000 a year are eligible to get $20,000 in student loan forgiveness if they received Pell Grants, while those who make less than $125,000 a year and didn't receive a Pell Grant will be eligible for $10,000 in loan forgiveness.

Though Biden's plan is meant to help millions of Americans who are struggling to pay off their student loans, some Republicans slammed the president for his forgiveness program.

On Friday, GOP Texas Senator Ted Cruz criticized Biden's plan, saying that "slacker baristas" benefitting from loan forgiveness might help Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections.

"There is a real risk," Cruz said. "If you are that slacker barista who wasted seven years in college studying completely useless things, now has loans and can't get a job—Joe Biden just gave you 20 grand. Like, holy cow! 20 grand. You know, maybe you weren't gonna vote in November. And suddenly you just got 20 grand."

"If you can get off the bong for a minute and head down to the voting station," the Republican senator continued. "Or just send in your mail-in ballot that the Democrats have helpfully sent you—it could drive up turnout, particularly among young people."

Some Democrats called out Cruz on Friday over his comment, including Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont who tweeted: "This is what a leading Republican thinks of young 'slacker' Americans who took out loans to go to college."

Meanwhile, other Republicans slammed Biden's plan, including Georgia GOP Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene who called the program "completely unfair" during a Wednesday interview on Newsmax. However, the White House responded to that clip, saying that the congresswoman benefited from Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, which were signed into law by former President Donald Trump as part of the CARES Act in March 2020.

"Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene had $183,504 in PPP loans forgiven," the White House account tweeted in response.

Meanwhile, GOP Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida also criticized the program and "overeducated elites" during his Firebrand podcast. However, he was called out by the White House for rejecting the debt relief plan despite having "$482,321 in PPP loans forgiven."

Newsweek reached out to Ocasio-Cortez's office for comment.