Wednesday, February 24, 2021

‘This Is Wrong’: Progressives Condemn Joe Biden’s Refusal to Cancel $50K in Student Debt

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Progressives denounced President Joe Biden‘s refusal to support an effort to cancel $50,000 in student loan debts for individuals on Wednesday.

Biden said that he “will not make that happen” when confronted with a demand to back the effort during Tuesday’s CNN town hall event, reasoning that he is in favor of some forgiveness for those who went to public schools but does not support eliminating debt for “people who have gone to Harvard and Yale.”

The president reiterated his plan to cancel $10,000 in student loan debt per individual instead. Many left-leaning lawmakers and others have blasted the amount as insufficient to relieve financial stress for those with student loans, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Who cares what school someone went to?” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted on Wednesday. “Entire generations of working class kids were encouraged to go into more debt under the guise of elitism. This is wrong… The case against student loan forgiveness is looking shakier by the day.”

1. Who cares what school someone went to? Entire generations of working class kids were encouraged to go into more debt under the guise of elitism. This is wrong.

2. Nowhere does it say we must trade-off early childhood education for student loan forgiveness. We can have both. https://t.co/5oPKeMfV3r

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 17, 2021

“Very wealthy people already have a student loan forgiveness program. It’s called their parents,” Ocasio-Cortez later tweeted while noting that the average student loan debt is close to $30,000 per person. “The idea that millionaires and billionaires are willingly letting their kids drown in federal student loans & that’s why we can’t go big on forgiveness is about as silly as it sounds.”

Very wealthy people already have a student loan forgiveness program. It’s called their parents.

The idea that millionaires and billionaires are willingly letting their kids drown in federal student loans & that’s why we can’t go big on forgiveness is about as silly as it sounds.

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 17, 2021

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) issued a joint statement urging Biden to reconsider his position, saying “it’s time to act” while vowing to “keep fighting” to wipe out the larger amount. The senators said the plan could become reality using the Higher Education Act, which allows the secretary of education to cancel student loan debts.

Schumer and Warren reintroduced a Senate resolution that urges Biden to back the plan to cancel $50,000 of debt on February 4, after having first introduced the legislation last year during the administration of former President Donald Trump.

“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,” the senators wrote on Wednesday.

“An ocean of student loan debt is holding back 43 million borrowers and disproportionately weighing down Black and Brown Americans,” they continued. “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.”

Biden has indicated that he prefers Congress to take the first steps toward passing any plan to cancel student loan debt, although he has not entirely ruled out attempting to enact his own $10,000 debt cancellation plan using an executive order. An executive order to cancel the debt would almost certainly be met with legal challenges.

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment.

Joe Biden Student Loan Debt Cancellation Progressives
President Joe Biden speaks during a CNN town hall event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 16, 2021.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty

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Originally published at https://www.newsweek.com/this-wrong-progressives-condemn-joe-bidens-refusal-cancel-50k-student-debt-1570095 on .

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