Biden says he’s considering canceling ‘some’ student debt

the Of the president Thursday’s remarks confirmed his private conversation with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus earlier this week in which he was widely reported to be expressing his willingness to take executive action for student debt relief.

Senate Majority Leader chuck schumerwho has repeatedly called on Biden to take executive action to cancel $50,000 in debt, said Wednesday he believed Biden was “moving in our direction” and “closer” to doing so.

Biden on Thursday pushed back against Schumer’s assessment of his stance on student debt. Asked by a reporter about Schumer’s comments, Biden replied, “You mean my spokesperson said that?”

“I’m looking closely at whether or not there will be additional debt forgiveness,” Biden said, adding that he expected to make a decision on the matter “within the next two weeks.”

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, whose agency would be responsible for implementing any loan cancellation plan, said on Thursday he wanted such a plan to be combined with other reforms.

“We now have the opportunity to not only deliver large-scale relief,” but to “fix the broken systems that got us to where we are,” Cardona said in a brief interview Thursday after Biden’s remarks. . “All of that in combination is something we should consider.”

While Biden weighs a decision on widespread debt cancellation, the Education Department has so far taken a more piecemeal approach to debt cancellation.

Department of Education officials have expanded and streamlined existing programs that provide loan forgiveness to targeted populations of borrowers, such as those working in the public service, students who have been defrauded by their college, and people who become severely disabled.

Department officials unveiled their latest batch of loan forgiveness on Thursday: $238 million for some 28,000 borrowers who attended a now-defunct chain of for-profit beauty schools.

James Kvaal, the education undersecretary, who oversees higher education and student loan issues, said on Thursday the department was focused on “working very hard to deliver where we have the power to deliver.” .

Progressives, however, argue that Biden has the power to write off large amounts of debt and should go much further than he has already. They say Biden must fulfill his campaign promise to erase at least $10,000 of debt per borrower to energize the Democratic Party’s base ahead of a tough midterm election this fall.

Republicans, meanwhile, have uniformly opposed the kind of large-scale debt cancellation Biden is considering.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), for example, on Wednesday lambasted the possibility of student debt forgiveness as a “bribe” Democrats would offer voters. “Desperate polls call for desperate measures” he said in a tweet.

Republicans in the House and Senate have introduced legislation that would restrict the Department of Education’s power to continue suspending federal student loan payments and canceling large amounts of debt. This legislation is going nowhere in the Democratic-controlled Congress, but some conservatives are already calling for a meaningful GOP response if Biden moves forward with student debt cancellation.

Writing in National Review on Wednesday, conservative commentator Charles CW Cooke said Republicans should respond by shutting down the entire federal student loans program and potentially impeaching Biden for abuse of executive power.


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