Despite the objection of even moderate Republicans like Mitt Romney, President Biden is steaming ahead with his plans for student loan forgiveness, all in a thinly veiled attempt to appeal to young voters and rescue any hope that the Dems have for the midterms.
Reliable sources say that Biden plans to move forward with student loan debt forgiveness, saying that he is considering executive action that could expunge at least $10,000 per borrower.
Such an executive action on debt forgiveness follows the president asking the Education Department to look into his authority to act unilaterally on student loans a year ago, the results of which have not been publicly announced.
Bloomberg first reported that Biden is weighing forgiving at least $10,000 in student loans per borrower, citing people familiar with the matter.
“But the door has been open to possibly larger,” a source told The Hill. “Lots of options on the table. They are doing a lot of listening right now.”
The source added that there’s been no timeline set yet on when the president will act, but presumable it will be soon to garner favor for the upcoming midterm elections where Democrats are poised to lose the House and possibly the Senate.
The president in the 2020 campaign supported forgiving at least $10,000 in federal student loans per person, while others in his party, including Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), have pressed for $50,000 per borrower or to cancel debt entirely.
Biden earlier this week said he is “taking a hard look” at forgiving some student debt, adding that he is not considering the $50,000 debt reduction. Press secretary Jen Psaki also said this week that the White House is still reviewing whether Biden can unilaterally forgive student loan debt.
“Whatever he feels comfortable doing, fine. And I’m going to do whatever I feel comfortable doing.”
Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said in an interview on Friday, Apr. 29, that he would support Biden’s $10,000 figure as an initial move.
“I would see that as a good first step,” Clyburn said.
The congressman, whose endorsement helped secure the Democratic nomination for Biden in 2020, has been an influential and important confidant in the president’s inner circle. He is pushing for a legislative path for up to $50,000 in student debt forgiveness with the support of prominent progressives in the House and Senate, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
“I’m not going to be comfortable with only at $10,000,” he said.
In early April, the Biden administration extended the pandemic moratorium on federal student loan payments and interest accrual through August. Loan payments were first paused in March 2020, early in the coronavirus pandemic, under then-President Trump, and the moratorium has been extended multiple times since.
Biden has been under pressure to go farther than the moratorium and forgive the debt. The White House has also consistently said the president would sign legislation canceling student debt if Congress passed such a bill.