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Biden balks at $50K student loan forgiveness plan

President BidenJoe BidenLawmakers, activists remember civil rights icons to mark 'Bloody Sunday' Fauci predicts high schoolers will receive coronavirus vaccinations this fall Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE on Tuesday balked at forgiving $50,000 in student loan debt, saying he doesn't have the power to do so unilaterally.

"I do think in this moment of economic pain and strain that we should be eliminating interest on the debts that are accumulated, No. 1. And No. 2, I'm prepared to write off the $10,000 debt, but not [$50,000]," Biden said, saying he doesn't believe it can be done with presidential action.

The White House previously said the Office of Legal Counsel was reviewing whether Biden could unilaterally cancel federal student loan debt.

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That came after White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiMississippi governor defends ending mask mandate Border crisis creates new risks for Biden Cruz puts hold on Biden's CIA nominee MORE said Biden would sign a bill forgiving $10,000 of student loan debt if Congress passed a bill.

A group of Democratic lawmakers led by Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerManchin firm on support for filibuster, mulls making it 'a little bit more painful' to use Biden takes victory lap after Senate passes coronavirus relief package Lawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food MORE (N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate rejects Sanders minimum wage hike Philly city council calls on Biden to 'cancel all student loan debt' in first 100 days Hillicon Valley: High alert as new QAnon date approaches Thursday | Biden signals another reversal from Trump with national security guidance | Parler files a new case MORE (Mass.) reintroduced a measure earlier this month calling on Biden to forgive up to $50,000 in federally held student debt per borrower.

Supporters argue that Biden has the authority and responsibility to forgive student debt as the coronavirus pandemic roils the U.S. economy and imposes the greatest burden on those least able to afford it.

The push to erase student loan debt is likely to run into GOP opposition, and some critics have questioned whether the Education secretary has the legal power to forgive student debt.