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Biden balks at $50K student loan forgiveness plan

President BidenJoe BidenKlain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' Senators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Overnight Defense: New Senate Armed Services chairman talks Pentagon policy nominee, Afghanistan, more | Biden reads report on Khashoggi killing | Austin stresses vaccine safety in new video 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 PsakiMore than 700 migrant children in Border Patrol custody: report Klain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' Biden's picks face peril in 50-50 Senate 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 SchumerHillicon Valley: Biden signs order on chips | Hearing on media misinformation | Facebook's deal with Australia | CIA nominee on SolarWinds House Rules release new text of COVID-19 relief bill Budowsky: Cruz goes to Cancun, AOC goes to Texas MORE (N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBecerra says he wants to 'build on' ObamaCare when pressed on Medicare for All Yellen deputy Adeyemo on track for quick confirmation Menendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill 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.