Story at a glance:
- President Biden is considering his options for canceling student loan debt.
- Biden has signaled he would be willing to cancel $10,000 in student debt through legislation in Congress.
- Forty-four million Americans have student loan debt.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki signaled that President Biden is still considering his options on canceling student loan debt in a Monday press briefing.
The questions came after Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, said Biden had been researching his "legal authority" to use executive action on canceling up to $50,000 of student loan debt per person.
Psaki stated that Biden was more than willing to cancel $10,000 in student debt through legislation in Congress but skirted the idea of using executive action to cancel a higher sum.
"I think that would naturally be the first step before it's a larger amount beyond there," Psaki said. "What Ron Klain was referring to is the fact that there's an ongoing review.”
"It's both a policy review and a legal review — so Department of Education and Department of Justice — to look at what the options are, and what authority could be recommended to the president. So that was the process he's referring to," she said.
Biden has begun to take steps toward addressing the $1.7 trillion student debt crisis in the United States.
Yet, 44 million Americans have student loan debt, and it has only been compounded by the coronavirus pandemic.
While the coronavirus relief package, known as the CARES Act, set interest rates to 0 percent and paused a majority of federal student loan payments, which has now been extended to Sept. 30, 2021, the financial burden caused by the pandemic has led new student loan debt to grow double in size.
According to Experian, student loan debt levels grew about 6 percent per year from 2015-2019, but in 2020, it increased by 12 percent.
When a reporter restated to Psaki that Biden had said in the past he would not cancel $50,000 in student loans per person, Psaki responded, “We haven't ruled out options, but that review is ongoing and there isn't a conclusion on it."
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