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Womack Joins Letter Regarding Student Loan Cancellation’s Impact on Military Recruitment

Washington, DC—September 15, 2022....Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) today joined Pat Fallon (TX-4) and other members in sending a letter to President Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. The lawmakers demand answers on the impact that Joe Biden’s student loan cancellation program will have on the military’s ability to effectively recruit. They specifically asked:

  1. Was the effect on military service considered in the development of the recent student loan forgiveness decision?
  2. What is the administration’s plan to develop incentives to augment the loss of those who might join the military to help pay off student loans?
  3. What improvements are being made to ensure timely payments to those currently enrolled in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs for both active duty and reserve components? 

Read the full letter, which includes a full list of signers, here.

Congressman Womack said:

“It’s no secret that you can’t just cancel student loans. The expense will be passed onto taxpayers through higher taxes and debt—and the harmful costs don’t end there. At a time when low enlistment rates are already deeply alarming, this Biden Administration move could impact one of our military’s significant recruitment tools. The unintended consequences of this misguided policy to our defense are yet to be fully realized.”

Congressman Fallon said:  

“Military recruitment is hard enough. With Joe Biden’s recent announcement to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt, I fear what may come next. The Armed Services have often used educational benefits as a top incentive in the recruitment process, and now that is gone. We deserve answers. It is imperative that we understand why this decision was made, who was consulted in the process, and what effects this will have on all branches of our military. I want to thank all my colleagues for joining me in this effort. We look forward to the Administration’s response.”

Congressman Bacon said:

“For decades, hundreds of thousands of young Americans have made the courageous decision to serve in uniform based on the promise of a college education. I’m very concerned that the deeply flawed and unfair policy of blanket student loan forgiveness will also weaken our most powerful recruiting tool at the precise moment we are experiencing a crisis in military recruiting.”

Congressman Jackson said: 

“To disincentivize joining the military while the military faces major recruiting problems is yet another dumbfounding, misguided decision our Commander-in-Chief has made. I joined the Navy, in part, to pay for medical school, which proved to be one of the best and most important decisions of my life. Biden’s $330B+ student loan handout is illegal and an insult to millions of Americans, including those who have put their lives on the line to keep us safe. I am proud to join my colleagues in demanding answers on behalf of those servicemembers who are as angry as we are.”

Congressman Ellzey said: 

"Our voluntary military force is made up of less than 1% of Americans. Many students, including several in my district, join the military not only to serve our county but as a pathway for higher education. The Administration's plan to transfer up to $20,000 of student debt to the American taxpayers undervalues the service and commitment these brave men and women make to our county."

Congressman Hudson said: 

“President Biden’s student loan boondoggle is unfair to millions of hardworking Americans, especially heroes who serve in our nation’s military. As Fort Bragg’s Congressman, I am concerned about how this action will impact our military recruitment and readiness and am proud to join with my colleagues in holding the President accountable.”

Congressman Cline added:

“The promise of the GI Bill for military service is one of the top reasons individuals join the military. Ending this incentive, at a time when the Armed Services are failing to meet their recruiting goals, will potentially have a detrimental impact on military readiness, and on our Nation’s ability to fight wars and protect the homeland.”

Congressman Rutherford said: 

Providing servicemembers the opportunity to further their education at little to no cost is one of the primary ways we thank those who have served their nation. President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan not only delegitimizes the efforts of hardworking Americans to pay off their loans, it undermines the effectiveness of this education benefit as a recruiting tool for our military at a time when recruitment levels are already dangerously low. I am proud to join my colleagues in demanding accountability for the harm these handouts will cause across all branches of our armed forces.”

Congressman Lamborn said:

“Joe Biden’s highly irresponsible decision to arbitrarily forgive student loan debt takes away an incentive for those contemplating joining our all-volunteer Armed Forces. Military recruiters are already struggling to achieve lowered recruitment goals with reduced standards. Now, they will have one less incentive to offer those who wish to join our military as the value of GI benefits is reduced. Biden’s tone-deaf approach toward our very serious and dangerous readiness issue is especially concerning given the threats we face and our already diminishing personnel levels.”

Congressman Wittman said:

“Virginia’s 1st district is home to a large number of servicemembers, as well as many more veterans. President Biden’s decision to cancel student loans is especially harmful to our military readiness as the U.S. military struggles to address one of the most serious recruiting crises in decades. The administration’s short-sighted decision could not come at a worse time. I look forward to receiving answers from the Biden administration to these critical questions.”     

Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) has represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District since 2011. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.



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