Breaking with progressive Democrats, Biden rejects cancellation of up to $ 50,000 in student loans
At a CNN town hall Tuesday night in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, President Joe Biden reinforced his choice to break with the Progressive Democrats in their support for student debt relief of up to $ 50,000.
“I won’t make that happen,” Biden said.
House and Senate Democrats – especially Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., and Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., – have urged Biden to write off up to $ 50,000 in federal student debt via executive order within the first 100 days of his presidency.
“We’re not going to give up until we get it done, until $ 50,000 in debt is canceled for every student in the country,” Schumer said in a Feb. 4 press. conference.
Biden changed his statement to explain that he believes “everyone should be able to go to community college for free.” He also said that students attending a state university with an annual family income of less than $ 125,000 should be able to attend for free.
The Go Blue Guarantee, a Michigan University program aimed at increasing accessibility to higher education, covers all compulsory undergraduate tuition fees and fees for state students with an annual family income of less than $ 65,000.
Biden cited reluctance to forgive borrowers from elite colleges and universities as the main reason for his choice and said he didn’t think the policy was economically sound. The old comment sets off critics of many progressives who noted that students without wealthy families also attend these elite schools.
Biden said the money intended for the cancellation of student loans would be better invested in early childhood education.
LSA sophomore Alex Dumont is the National Director of Communications for Completed pending, an organization that lobbies for the election of progressive candidates. Solomon Rajput – a 28 year old medical student at the university – founded Done Waiting after losing a 2020 primary election to U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich, the outgoing Rep from Ann Arbor.
Dumont said supporting up to $ 10,000 in debt forgiveness is a “step in the right direction,” but canceling all student loan debt is the ultimate goal of progressive organizations like Done Waiting.
“I was really hoping that (Biden) would advocate for the forgiveness of a larger amount of debt,” Dumont said. “Right now we have a generation that is sort of shackled by debt. And studies have shown that even if you write off some student debt, their overall debt, the other things they owe, they’ll start paying them off. “
Sumet Patwardhan, President of the Organization of University Graduate Employees, Told The Daily in January 2021 that he thinks Biden needs to do more to ease student debt.
“I think it’s a good plan, but it could go even further,” Patwardhan said. “Capping the plan at $ 10,000 will minimize the stimulus effect that the forgiveness of student loans can have on the economy and the improvements in terms of fairness and equality of life it would bring to individual borrowers.”
In a Wednesday afternoon press conferenceBiden press secretary Jen Psaki added to the president’s statements noting that several factors should be taken into account before any executive order or bill is signed.
“It doesn’t promote $ 50,000 in unlimited student loan relief,” Psaki said. “Obviously there are a lot of considerations involved … There must be a team at the Department of Justice to make a recommendation on its legal authority … And in the meantime, if Congress goes ahead and send him a package that provides $ 10,000 in student debt relief, he’d be anxious to sign that.
In addition to economic concerns regarding student loan debt, Dumont discussed how student loan debt disproportionately affected Black students and other students of color.
“It’s also a matter of racial justice,” said Dumont. “Minorities and women are more likely to have higher student debt and are affected by it. So I think the best way to deal with this crisis… is to just clean up the slate and move towards a healthier generation economically.
Daily reporter Martha Lewand can be reached at [email protected]
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