Home Correctional service On student loans, Biden has no answer yet

On student loans, Biden has no answer yet


Lawmakers and advocates who have pushed for President BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: US reaffirms support for Ukraine amid threat of Russian invasion to act on student loan forgiveness were frustrated and disappointed this week when he did not respond to a reporter’s question on the matter.

Biden was asked at his marathon press conference on Wednesday if he still plans to forgive $10,000 in student loans — something he pledged to do during his campaign — but he didn’t respond.

“We expect a clear answer from our president – ​​for my part, I do not believe I have heard one yet,” said Rep. cori bushCori BushOn student loans, Biden has no answer yet Missouri State Highway Patrol: Ignore Gotham City alert The memo: Biden’s overpromising issue MORE (D-Mo.), a progressive who has spoken out on tackling the student loan crisis.

Biden extended the student loan repayment pause through May, providing relief to borrowers amid record spikes in COVID-19 cases.

But pressure has intensified on the president to cancel student debt, particularly before the upcoming midterm elections, and the large-scale cancellation has won support from Democratic leaders, including the leader of majority in the Senate. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerForced delay prompts drastic tactic in Congress Democrats call on Biden administration to make it easier for at-risk Afghans to enter U.S. Doom predictions for Democrats are no guarantees of mid-term failure journey (NEW YORK).

About 43 million Americans owe a collective amount of more than $1.7 trillion in student loans to the federal government.

“If only students could avoid their debt like Biden dodges questions about his broken promises,” said Thomas Gokey, an organizer with the Debt Collective.

When asked by The Hill why Biden didn’t answer the question and what the answer would be, a White House official said the president supports Congress giving $10,000 in debt relief. and that it continued to examine what debt relief measures could be taken administratively.

The manager also mentioned the refund break issued in December.

“I’m glad to see the press continue to hammer the president and press secretary on this issue,” said Cody Hounanian, executive director of the Student Debt Crisis Center (SDCC). “What that means to me is that no matter what this administration does, the press and the general public remember what he promised on the campaign trail.”

The student loan question was asked back-to-back with an unrelated one from a reporter at the end of the nearly two-hour press conference, so it’s possible Biden’s non-response was unintentional.

“Honestly, I think he dodged it because he could,” said Robert Moran, a former senior policy adviser at the Department of Education under President George W. Bush and now director of the Bose Public Affairs Group. . “And loans are such a hot topic right now, and the reporter gave him an escape with the second question. He basically didn’t talk about it because firstly he didn’t have to and secondly , he didn’t want to get into the back and forth of ‘We don’t have the power to do it’.”

Hounanian noted that the White House has previously dodged questions about student loans and called it a continuing pattern from the president and the press secretary. Jen PsakiJen PsakiOn student loans, Biden has no answer yet Part of US military support package arrives in Ukraine Biden seeks to salvage what he can from Build Back Better MORE.

“When I hear the president ignore a question like this, it sounds like another one of those deviations,” he said.

The president requested a memo from the Department of Education in April determining its authority to write off student debt, but the administration did not provide an update on the status of it.

When asked if the Department of Education was done with the memo, an agency spokesperson said it was working with the White House to “review options regarding debt cancellation.” “.

Advocates and many Democrats, however, have made up their minds: Biden has the power to cancel the loans through executive action, and he should.

“The student debt crisis is particularly horrifying: it crosses ideological, racial and economic boundaries, affecting every zip code and every community in our country in a way that presents President Biden with a rare opportunity to help the entire country. with the stroke of his pen,” Bush said. “The president has the power to cancel student debt, and he should use it.”

Bush noted that borrowers are disproportionately black and brown, and that black women carry the most student debt of any demographic group, averaging more than $37,000, compared to $31,000 for white women.

A Analysis of May 2021 from the American Association of University Women found that black women had about 20% more student debt than white women.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, a Democrat from New York, pledged to continue to pressure Biden on the issue, noting that Biden has continued to extend the moratorium on loan payments first enacted under the government. ‘era.President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden says Roe vs. Wade is being attacked like ‘never before’ On student loans, Biden has no response yet Grill company apologizes after sending meatloaf recipe on same day of death rock star MORE in March 2020.

“President Biden has suspended student loan payments for his entire first term and that’s because of our movement and pressure. He can continue to make history by canceling them too. We’re going to continue to working with the president, urging him to keep his campaign promise and advocate for the cause. Now is the time,” he said.

Proponents argue that too much is at stake for the president not to be transparent on the issue.

“Biden may have dodged a question today, but he won’t be able to ignore 45 million student borrowers if he tries to reactivate payments in May,” Debt Collective press secretary Braxton Brewington said Wednesday.

Progressives have called on Biden to forgive $50,000 per borrower of federally held student debt, five times more than he campaigned on.

Moran argued that if Biden forgave the $10,000 per borrower he promised during the campaign, it could open the door to pressure on him to go higher.

“When does it stop? You made $10,000, $10,000 is arbitrary, $50,000 is arbitrary. How big is the amount once you say you have the legal authority to do so? Why not just get rid of it all? He asked.

The White House took steps to cancel some loans in the first year of the Biden administration, including providing $5.8 billion to borrowers with disabilities for life.

Hounanian, at the SDCC, was optimistic after the press conference, arguing that Biden’s non-response could mean the White House hasn’t shut the door on more action.

“This dodging of the question could be just another sign that there are internal discussions and they might not know what their response is to this either. I think our pressure is having an influence,” he said. he declares.