Biden Says Decision on Student-Loan Forgiveness Soon, Won’t Be $50,000
- Biden said he will have a decision on student-loan forgiveness «in the next couple of weeks.»
- He also said he is «not considering» $50,000 in debt cancellation, which progressives were pushing.
- This comes after Biden reportedly told lawmakers he is open to forgiving more than $10,000 in debt.
President Joe Biden made clear that a decision on student-loan forgiveness will be happening very soon — but it might not be the amount many are hoping for.
«I am considering dealing with some [student] debt reduction, I am not considering $50,000 debt reduction but I’m in the process of taking a hard look at whether there will be additional debt forgiveness,» Biden said Thursday when a reporter asked a question about student debt following a White House speech about aid to Ukraine. «And I’ll have an answer for that in the next couple of weeks.»
This is one of the most decisive comments so far from the president on what he is considering when it comes to canceling student debt broadly. While Biden most recently extended the pause on student-loan payments through August 31, his administration has made clear that he will decide on what relief he will carry out for borrowers using executive action before repayment resumes. While Biden pledged $10,000 in loan forgiveness on the campaign trail, lawmakers have been hoping he would cancel at least $50,000 — but it looks like that amount is not on the table.
This news comes after Biden spoke to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Monday, and according to some of the meeting attendees, Biden expressed openness to going beyond his campaign pledge. While he has not ruled out any amount higher than $10,000, NBC News reported he could likely tie forgiveness to income, meaning it would relief would not go to every federal borrower equally.
«I think there are a lot of ways to design the program to make sure that help is targeted for those who need it most,» Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts told Insider. In the 2020 Democratic primary, she campaigned on wiping out up to $50,000 in debt for borrowers earning less than $250,000.
Warren, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and a number of their Democratic colleagues have been urging Biden for months to cancel $50,000 in student debt for every federal borrower. Some of them want even more — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said during a student debt rally on Wednesday that Biden should cancel «all student debt in all of America.»
But Republican lawmakers have been ramping up criticism regarding the potential for broad student-loan relief. A group of five GOP lawmakers introduced a bill on Wednesday to end the student-loan payment pause and block Biden from canceling student debt in connection to a national emergency, and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney called loan relief a «bribe» for voters on Twitter.
Others also criticized the White House for putting student debt relief on the table. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine told Insider that she had «a lot of concerns» with the potential move.
«I believe that we ought to increase Pell Grants which go to our neediest families and that is a far better way to target relief,» Collins said, referring to a program that provides help to lower-income students pay for higher education.
She also argued that wiping out student debt relief would be unfair for people who paid back the debt.
Still, Democratic lawmakers and advocates are keeping up the fight for broad relief. Wisdom Cole, NAACP’s national youth director, said in a statement following Biden’s comments that «we agree that we shouldn’t cancel $50,000 in student loan debt.»
«We should cancel all of it,» Cole said. «$50,000 was just the bottom line. For the Black community, who’ve accumulated debt over generations of oppression, anything less is unacceptable.»