Senate Democrats seize one last chance to push Biden on student debt

The fight against student loans is a key sticking point between Biden and Senate Democrats. Schumer, Warren and Warnock are press Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt for borrowers, but Biden is considering much smaller relief.

The progressive wing of the party thinks deep debt relief will energize voters, although centrist Democrats generally prefer a more measured approach. Warnock himself could benefit as he prepares to face voters this fall.

Biden publicly ruled out $50,000 in write-offs last month, but said he was considering writing off “some” student loan debt. Schumer and his Democratic allies have been adamant, keeping pressure on Biden to take big steps ahead of midterms and avoid making too small a move to help at the polls. The White House did not return a request for comment.

There are no meetings scheduled, but a White House source predicted that Biden would be open to hosting one.

A spokesperson for Warren declined to comment on private conversations with the White House. But Warren is all about it, even setting up a war room to fend off criticism that student loan debt forgiveness would be unpopular or disproportionately benefit the wealthy.

In an interview last month, Warren made it clear that she wants Biden and Congress to work hand-in-hand to produce much more tangible results for Americans ahead of the midterm elections — with student loans leading the way. priority list.

“I’m focused on movement. And that means Congress is using all the tools at its disposal. But it also means that the administration uses all the tools at its disposal. It’s time for the president to write off a lot of student debt,” she said.

The Biden administration has suspended student loan repayments until August, and the president himself has issued a sympathetic note about the importance of a necessary cancellation while aides explore how far he can go. His administration is exploring a way to prevent high earners from enjoying the benefits of cancellation.

Biden is expected to make an announcement soon, and Senate Democrats want to make sure they’re among the last people to talk to him before that decision. After this story was published, NAACP National Youth and Colleges Director Wisdom Cole said, “Cancelling $10,000 in student debt will not help the black community. The means test will not help the black community.

“Any cancellation as low as $10,000 would be a slap in the face. Our request for cancellation of $50,000 or more is supported by research,” Cole said.

There is of course a risk in upsetting the Democratic Party’s handful of fiscal conservatives while part of Biden’s agenda is still up in the air in Congress. Privately, some Democrats would like any announcement on debt relief to come later in the year to bring it closer to the election and give them more time to negotiate a climate and tax reform bill along the line. of the party without upsetting any of their centrists.

Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.


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