Story at a glance

  • Top Democrats are pressuring President Biden to take executive action to cancel $50,000 in student loan debt for individual borrowers.
  • The White House indicated it would be willing to consider doing so unilaterally, although Biden has maintained his preference would be for Congress to pass legislation.
  • Those who stand to benefit most from the Democrat’s proposal include Black and Latino Americans who have historically lacked access to higher education.

Top Democrats are urging President Biden to use his executive authority to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt for federal student loan borrowers. 

On Thursday, a group of Democratic lawmakers led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) reintroduced a nonbinding resolution calling on Biden to forgive all of the debt for 80 percent of federal student loan borrowers; about 36 million people in the U.S. The federal government holds $1.6 trillion in student loan debt that is owed by more than 43 million people. 


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“We are not going to let up until we accomplish it, until $50,000 of debt is forgiven for every student in the country,” Schumer said Thursday during a news conference. 

In response to the growing push by progressives and congressional Democrats to cancel the debt, the White House indicated it would be willing to consider doing so unilaterally, although Biden has maintained his preference would be for Congress to pass legislation. 

“The President continues to support the cancelling of student debt to bring relief to students and families,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted Thursday. 

“Our team is reviewing whether there are any steps he can take through executive action and he would welcome the opportunity to sign a bill sent to him by Congress.” 

Those who stand to benefit most from the Democrat’s proposal include Black and Latino Americans who have historically lacked access to higher education, and are more likely to take on student loan debt and struggle with repayment. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, nearly 85 percent of Black bachelor’s degree recipients carry student debt, compared with 69 percent of white bachelor’s degree recipients. 

Women would also benefit, as they carry about two-thirds of the nation’s current student loan debt. Black women borrowers also finish their undergraduate education with more debt than other women. 

Studies have shown that cancelling student loan debt could significantly increase wealth among Black and Latinos and help close the racial wealth gap. 

“By cancelling up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers, President Biden can take the single most effective executive action available to provide a massive stimuli to our economy, help narrow the racial wealth gap, and lift this impossible burden off of tens of millions of families,” Warren said in a statement


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Published on Feb 04, 2021