President Biden told reporters Thursday that he is looking at forgiving some student loan debt, but it won’t be as high as the $50,000 per student target that some Democratic lawmakers have advocated.
Earlier this month, Mr. Biden extended the moratorium on federal student loan payments through August 31. Student loan payments were first paused in March 2020 by the Trump administration in response to the economic chaos wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been extended several times since.
About 40 million Americans hold $1.7 trillion in student loan debt. Critics say a major student loan forgiveness would boost the deficit, fuel inflation and be poorly targeted, with even employed, higher-income borrowers benefiting from the relief.
“I am considering dealing with some debt reduction,” Mr. Biden told reporters at a White House event announcing new aid for Ukraine. “I am not considering $50,000 in debt reduction, but I’m in the process of taking a hard look at whether or not there will be additional debt forgiveness and I’ll have an answer on that in the next couple of weeks.”
Prominent liberal lawmakers such as Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren have pushed Mr. Biden to go big and forgive all student debt, saying it would boost low-and-middle class families, avoid a shock to the economy, and boost racial equity.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, has urged the White House to forgive up to $50,000 in student debt for each borrower.
Rep. Tony Cardenas, California Democrat, said this week that Mr. Biden is considering wiping out a “significant” amount of student loan debt, adding the president did not offer specifics but suggested his plan would please Democrats. Mr. Cardenas attended a meeting Monday between Mr. Biden and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
“You’re going to like what I do on that, I’m looking to do something on that and I think you’re going to like what I do,” Mr. Biden told the caucus, Mr. Cardenas later told CBS News.
“The president never mentioned an amount nor did the president say that he was going to wipe out all student debt,” Mr. Cardenas said. “He did have a dialogue with us about the differential between young people who went to public schools or private schools and we CHC members should focus on both.”
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