Schumer, Warren Respond to Biden’s Student Debt Forgiveness Reluctance: ‘We Will Keep Fighting’

Elizabeth Warren speaks at a campaign town hall meeting in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, January 26, 2020. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) on Wednesday pushed back against President Biden’s statement that he would not enact a $50,000 student debt forgiveness plan.

“Cancelling $50,000 in federal student loan debt will help close the racial wealth gap, benefit the 40% of borrowers who do not have a college degree, and help stimulate the economy,” the Democrats said in a statement. “It’s time to act. We will keep fighting.”

During a CNN town hall on Tuesday, Biden was asked how he would provide $50,000 in federal student loan forgiveness.

“I will not make that happen,” Biden said. 

He added: “My point is: I understand the impact of debt, and it can be debilitating. I am prepared to write off the $10,000 debt but not $50 [thousand], because I don’t think I have the authority to do it.”  

While Schumer and Warren called on Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt in December, Biden has said he does not believe the president has the unilateral authority to cancel student debt.

The pair argued that “Presidents Obama and Trump used their executive authority to cancel student loan debt.”

“The Biden administration has said it is reviewing options for cancelling up to $50,000 in student debt by executive action, and we are confident they will agree with the standards Obama and Trump used as well as leading legal experts who have concluded that the administration has broad authority to immediately deliver much-needed relief to millions of Americans,” Schumer and Warren’s statement said. “An ocean of student loan debt is holding back 43 million borrowers and disproportionately weighing down Black and Brown Americans.”

Dozens of House Democrats introduced a joint resolution in February that calls on the president to cancel debt.

However, Biden said Tuesday that debt forgiveness should depend “on whether or not you go to a private university or a public university.” He said the federal government should not forgive debt for students who attended elite schools such as “Harvard and Yale and Penn.”

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