Amid national student loan forgiveness discourse on August 25 2022, screenshots of a tweet attributed to an Indiana Republican appeared and went viral, expressing his apparent belief that U.S. President Joe Biden’s plan potentially undermined military enlistment efforts.
A biography on the website for Rep. Jim Banks (R-Indiana) indicated that he served in the military:
Congressman Banks currently serves in the U.S. Navy Reserve as a Supply Corps officer. In 2014 and 2015, he took a leave of absence from the Indiana State Senate to deploy to Afghanistan during Operations Enduring Freedom and Freedom’s Sentinel. Due to a unique state law regarding leaves of absence, his wife, Amanda, was elected to serve in his place during the deployment. Banks is often told she made a better State Senator than he did.
Banks was elected in 2016 to represent Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District and currently serves as chairman of the Republican Study Committee for the 117th Congress. Banks serves as a member of the House Committee on Armed Services, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and the House Committee on Education and Labor. Additionally, he serves as the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems, co-chairs the House Armed Services Committee’s Future of Defense Task Force and sits on the Naval Academy’s Board of Visitors.
Reactions to screenshots of the purported tweet were reasonably straightforward. Commenters largely seemed to feel that the sentiment implied that prospective students from modest or low-income backgrounds ought to be coerced into enlisting in the military; few people pointed out that forgiving existing loans in no way funds college for future students.
The tweet was real, and Banks tweeted it on the morning of August 25 2022:
Student loan forgiveness undermines one of our military’s greatest recruitment tools at a time of dangerously low enlistments.Did All House Republicans Vote Down a Measure to Monitor White Supremacists in the Military?Did All House Republicans Vote Down...
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) August 25, 2022
So you are shamelessly using the desperation of poor Americans to recruit them to the military? Do you hear yourself?
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) August 25, 2022
Is there a second part to this tweet where you explain why that's a bad thing
— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) August 25, 2022
“Greatest recruitment tool” you mean predatory practices that target low income students?
— Olivia Julianna 🗳 (@0liviajulianna) August 25, 2022
On August 25 2022, the Biden administration’s announcement of a long-anticipated student loan forgiveness plan generated significant social media discussions. Among the responses was a tweet from Indiana Republican Rep. Jim Banks, who posited that “Student loan forgiveness undermines one of our military’s greatest recruitment tools at a time of dangerously low enlistments.” Social media commenters considered the tweet to be (among other things) “saying the quiet part out loud.” The tweet was real, and it had not been deleted as of August 26 2022.