- Nov 4, 2020
A group of prominent Democrats announced legislation on Thursday calling on President Joe Biden to cancel some student loan debt using his executive power.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., joined Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Alma Adams, D-N.C., Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., at a press conference to announce the measure.
The resolution, which is nonbinding, calls on Biden to use executive action to wipe out up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt for all borrowers and to ensure there is zero tax liability for borrowers after any administrative debt cancellation. It also suspends student loan payments and interest for the duration of the pandemic and says the Secretary of Education has broad administrative authority to cancel the debt.
Urging him "to be responsive to the movement that elected him," Pressley said that the resolution has over 50 co-sponsors in the House, support across both chambers of Congress and the backing of hundreds of grassroots organizations.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki appeared to throw cold water on the effort later Thursday, telling reporters that while "the president has and continues to support canceling $10,000 of federal student loan debt per person as a response to the Covid crisis," any further action would need to come from Congress.
"He's calling on Congress to draft the proposal," she said, though she didn't say what specific measures he would support. "And if it is passed and sent to his desk, he will look forward to signing it."
She later tweeted that the White House would also be "reviewing whether there are any steps he can take through executive action."
Democrats and advocates have been lobbying Biden for months to tackle the student loan crisis through executive action. Warren and Schumer introduced a resolution in September that outlined how the president could use existing authority under the Higher Education Act to cancel the debt.