More Democrats are calling for President Joe Biden to take sweeping action and cancel a large portion of student loan debt as he continues to issue a series of executive orders on a range of issues.
Although Biden continues to take more executive actions than any of his predecessors in his first weeks in office, he has yet to address student loan debt — an issue central to the platforms of many of his former presidential challengers, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has continued to press Biden to provide student debt relief.
“@POTUS should cancel $50,000 of student loan debt,” she said Sunday evening, echoing the calls of other progressives pressing Biden to take action:
RT if you agree:@POTUS should cancel $50,000 of student loan debt.
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) March 8, 2021
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) actively encouraged Biden to cancel student debt, as has Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who said the president’s willingness to cancel up to $10,000 is simply not enough.
“Many won’t fully feel $10k in forgiveness until after a Biden presidency is over, when they’ve spent 10 years paying off the other $20k+ Dems should be championing policy that people can feel ASAP,” she said, stressing the need for Democrats to “go big” on the issue:
Average student loan debt in the US is ~$30k (LOTS have more)
Many won’t fully feel $10k in forgiveness until after a Biden presidency is over, when they’ve spent 10 years paying off the other $20k+
Dems should be championing policy that people can feel ASAP. We need to go big.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 17, 2021
Philadelphia’s city council has taken it a step further, collectively calling on the administration to “enact a plan by the end of President Biden’s first 100 days in office to cancel all student loan debt and begin the transition to education as a public good.”
Biden’s remarks at the February CNN town hall surprised many progressives after he dismissed the prospect of unilaterally canceling up to $50,000 in student debt.
“I will not make that happen,” he said of the call, prompting the White House to clarify the administration is continuing to examine ways to eliminate up to $50,000 in student debt:
From the Biden town hall on CNN last night, this questioner asked about canceling $50,000 worth of student debt:
“What will you do to make that happen?”
“I will not make that happen.” pic.twitter.com/Y7auUT2YQZ
— The Recount (@therecount) February 17, 2021
— Forbes (@Forbes) February 17, 2021
“He was reiterating his previous stated position, which is that he doesn’t favor $50,000 in student loan relief without limitations,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki clarified, adding that Biden would be “eager” to sign a measure providing $10,000 in student debt relief.