Joe Biden’s reversal on eliminating student loan debt has top Democrats pushing back on the President.
In a joint statement on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said, “Canceling $50,000 in federal student loan debt will help close the racial wealth gap, benefit the 40% of borrowers who do not have a college degree, and help stimulate the economy. It’s time to act. We will keep fighting.”
The comments put the Democrats front-and-center in a fight against the newly-elected President, who ran on the promise of canceling student debt. Biden said at a CNN town hall Tuesday night that he disagrees with members of his party who want to cancel $50,000 per borrower.
“I will not make that happen,” Biden told the audience. The President proposed a $10,000 one-time forgiveness, but Democrats and supporters alike say that’s not enough for millions of American deal with the overwhelming debt.
The latest rift between Democrats and the Biden Administration as $1,400 stimulus checks for Americans doesn’t seem to be an option in the foreseeable future, another campaign promise floated by the President. One person who has been very critical of Biden for the letdown is Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that once Biden’s Justice Department nominees are confirmed, he will ask them to conduct a legal review of his authority to act by executive action on targeted debt relief.
“What the President has told Senators is that once his team is in place at the Justice Department —and they are not, of course they’re, they’re not confirmed at this point — he will ask them to conduct a legal review of his authority to act by executive action in conjunction with a policy review from his Domestic Policy Council on how executive action debt relief, if any, should be targeted,” Psaki said at a White House briefing.
“In the meantime, if Congress moves forward and sends them a package that, you know, provides $10,000 of student debt relief, he’d be eager to sign that,” Psaki said.
In one of his first executive orders, Biden extended a freeze on Federal student loan payments and interest. Borrowers won’t have to make payments until October 1 at the earliest, and that date is likely to be extended further as the COVID-19 crisis is expected to last past 2021.