Student loan cancellation creates conflict between progressives, Biden

"The president-elect must meet the moment. If he fails to, we will hold him accountable," said Representative Ayanna Pressley.

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to bring change to the White House and progressives hope many of the actions come sooner than later.

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According to the New York Times, congressional Democrats want the incoming president to cancel student loan debt with swift executive action. Biden has proposed canceling $10K in federal student debt per borrower, however, progressives are pushing for more. The outlet reports Democratic leaders are pushing the new administration to commit to up to $50K of debt relief per borrower, executed on Day One of his presidency.

“In this moment of national reckoning on racial injustice, the president-elect must cancel all federal student debt on Day 1 of his administration,” Representative Ayanna Pressley, Democrat of Massachusetts, said to the Times. “The president-elect must meet the moment. If he fails to, we will hold him accountable.”

President-Elect Biden Introduces Key Health Team Nominees And Appointees For Upcoming Administration
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden announces the members of his health team, including his pick for secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, at the Queen Theater on December 8, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“There are a lot of people who came out to vote in this election who frankly did it as their last shot at seeing whether the government can really work for them,” said Representative Pramila Jayapal (D, Wa.) the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “If we don’t deliver quick relief, it’s going to be very difficult to get them back.”

The New York Times reports that the Education Department is the United States’ largest consumer bank and the primary lender, since 2010, for higher education and owns student loans totaling $1.4T.

In a joint op-ed on Blavity, Senators Chuck Schumer of New York, and Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, shared why they believe the Biden administration should cancel up to $50K in student loans on their first day in office.

“On day one, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can use existing authority under the law to cancel up to $50K in federal student loan debt for all borrowers with federal loans and make sure it doesn’t result in any tax bill for borrowers,” the editorial reads. “This is the single most effective executive action available to provide massive stimulus to our economy.”

A letter published on Americans For Financial Reform, signed by 238 organizations, calls for the same action. Signers include the following organizations: American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, The Education Trust, Hispanic Federation, NAACP, National Urban League, UnidosUS, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), National Women’s Law Center, SEIU, Sunrise Movement, Minority Veterans of America, the United States Student Association, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, and the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.

(Adobe Stock)

“We, the 238 undersigned community, civil rights, climate, health, consumer, labor, and student advocacy organizations write to urge you to boost the economy, tackle racial disparities, and provide much-needed stimulus to help all Americans weather the pandemic and the associated recession by using executive authority to cancel federal student debt on Day One of your administration,” the letter stated.

“During the campaign, you endorsed $10K of relief while Congress negotiated the CARES Act, and subsequently promised to provide broad student debt cancellation “immediately” as a coronavirus response. Administrative debt cancellation will deliver real progress on your racial equity, economic recovery, and COVID-19 relief campaign priorities.”

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As theGrio reported, Biden’s promises included replacing the controversial Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos with an experienced educator. He also proposed a college forgiveness plan and hopes to develop a spending plan of hundreds of billions of dollars on preschool through college education.

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