Biden throws doubt at $50K student loan forgiveness

President Joe Biden said he's prepared to write off $10,000 in student debt, but not $50,000, as was reported.

President Joe Biden pushed back against calls for him to wipe out $50,000 in student loans Tuesday night during his town hall in Milwaukee. 

Progressive Democrats have called on Biden to authorize the cancellation via executive action. In a press conference earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, alongside Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Rep. Alma Adams of North Carolina, Rep. Mondaire Jones of New York and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, announced their non-binding resolution, pressing the issue with the president. 

President Joe Biden speaks briefly to reporters Tuesday on his way to Marine One before heading to Milwaukee for a town hall event to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and his $1.9 trillion relief bill. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

However, during his town hall last night on CNN, Biden said, “I do think in this moment of economic pain and strain that we should be eliminating interest on the debts that are accumulated, number one. And No. 2, I’m prepared to write off the $10,000 debt, but not [$50,000].” He also indicated he doesn’t believe it can be done with presidential action.

Pressley shared a video from More Perfect Union on Twitter this morning that succinctly explains the president’s authority to cancel the debt. She wrote: “Q: Does President @JoeBiden have the authority to cancel student debt with the stroke of a pen? A: yes.” 

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She also shared an NBC News article which notes that “a survey of registered Black voters shows 40 percent would consider staying home for the next election if there’s no action on student loan debt.”

President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan currently includes suspension of student loan payments as a relief for borrowers. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the president is prepared to sign off on the $10,000 total if a bill crosses his desk. 

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Schumer recently told theGrio canceling student loan debt would help close the racial wealth gap in America.

“This is a huge civil rights issue, as well as an equity issue, for our young people,” he said, “and it applies to the parents. If they took over the debt, too, with the flick of a pen, Joe Biden could say $50,000 of debt is forgiven, and it would remove debt from 73% of all people and a higher percentage of African Americans.”

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