President Joe Biden had a clear answer when a CNN mayoral participant asked him on Tuesday how he would implement a $ 50,000 student debt cancellation plan.
“I won’t make it,” Biden replied.
The president’s sacking comes as some Congressional Democrats have approved a student debt cancellation program that would write off up to $ 50,000 in debt for Americans.
“My point is this: I understand the impact of debt, and it can be debilitating,” Biden said. “I am ready to cancel the debt of $ 10,000 but not $ 50 [thousand], because I don’t think I have the power to do it, “said Biden, who argued that the president lacks the unilateral power to write off student debt, an idea that has caught on among progressives .
In December, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., and Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Jointly called on Biden to write off up to $ 50,000 in student loan debt. Dozens of Democrats in the House of Representatives introduced a joint resolution in February also calling on the president to cancel student debt.
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Biden has resisted such calls so far, arguing Tuesday that debt cancellation should ideally depend on “your private or public university.” The federal government should not write off the debt of students who went to elite schools like “Harvard and Yale and Penn,” the president said.
Biden said student loans should have zero percent interest, a decision it adopted alongside a freeze on reimbursements until September, as well as the expansion of the student loan exemption for public sector workers.
Biden also said any student debt forgiveness should be justified against other political priorities.
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The president’s comments were quickly criticized by some progressives, who view student debt cancellation as a moral imperative and an economic opportunity.
“Who cares what school someone went to? Entire generations of working class children have been encouraged to take on more debt under the guise of elitism. This is not true,” the representative said. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., tweeted in response to the president.
“Nowhere does it say that we have to trade early childhood education for student loan cancellation. We can have both,” Ocasio Cortez continued.
Schumer and Warren rebuffed Biden’s comments on Wednesday, saying in a statement that “Presidents Obama and Trump have used their executive power to write off student loan debt.”
“A sea of student loan debt is holding back 43 million borrowers and weighing disproportionately on black and brown Americans. The $ 50,000 forgiveness of federal student loan debt will help close the racial wealth gap,” will benefit the 40% of borrowers who do not have a college degree, and help stimulate the economy, “argued the duo.
Progressive Democrats have campaigned on student debt cancellation for years. A proposal to write off up to $ 50,000 in student debt was the cornerstone of the 2020 presidential nominations of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., And Warren.
Critics argue that such plans are poorly targeted and regressive, mainly benefiting already wealthy people or graduates who earn more on average. Advocates say many low-income students who don’t graduate carry debt that can be financially crippling.
In a press briefing on Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki again stressed that Biden “is not promoting $ 50,000 in full student loan relief” and that “top relief to $ 10,000 should be targeted, “depending on a student’s type of debt and school. assisted.
Biden told Schumer and Warren he would ask the Justice Department to conduct a legal review of his authorities on the matter in conjunction with the Home Policy Council on how to target any debt relief.
It is not clear why such a review would be necessary, as both Obama and Trump have used similar executive measures to provide debt relief.
According to Federal Reserve data, Americans hold about $ 1.7 trillion in student loan debt. Student borrowers graduating in 2019 from public or private non-profit colleges held an average of $ 28,950 in debt, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden at CNN mayor said he would not support the $ 50,000 student loan plan