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Biden balks at $50K student loan forgiveness plan

President BidenJoe BidenEx-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' News leaders deal with the post-Trump era 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 PsakiFive states have yet to administer one dose of vaccine to half their populations Biden has convinced allies 'America is back,' says France's Macron Biden, Macron huddle on sidelines of G7 summit 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 SchumerIt's not just Manchin: No electoral mandate stalls Democrats' leftist agenda DOJ to probe Trump-era subpoenas of lawmaker records Democrats demand Barr, Sessions testify on Apple data subpoenas MORE (N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenMark Cuban: ProPublica 'not being honest' about taxes on wealthy On The Money: Bipartisan Senate group rules out tax hikes on infrastructure | New report reignites push for wealth tax New report reignites push for wealth tax 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.