Biden ‘taking a hard look’ at some student debt forgiveness

President Biden on Thursday said he is looking at forgiving some student debt after repeatedly extending a moratorium on student loan payments.

“I am considering dealing with some debt reduction,” Biden told reporters after delivering remarks on Ukraine aid. “I am not considering $50,000 debt reduction, but I’m in the process of taking a hard look at whether or not there will be additional debt forgiveness and I’ll have an answer on that in the next couple of weeks.”

Biden earlier this month extended the pandemic moratorium on federal student loan payments and interest accrual through August. Loan payments were first paused in March 2020 early in the pandemic under then-President Trump, and the moratorium has been extended multiple times since.

But liberal lawmakers and activists have pushed the White House to go farther and outright forgive student debt for millions of Americans, arguing it would be a major relief for low- and middle-income families and a way to boost racial equality.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has been advocating for the White House to forgive up to $50,000 in student debt for Americans, and he told activists earlier this month he believed Biden and the White House were “more open to it than ever before.”

Press secretary Jen Psaki has repeatedly said the White House is reviewing its authority on potentially canceling some student debt. But she has reiterated that Biden would be willing to sign legislation canceling student debt if Congress passes such a bill.

On Thursday, Psaki said the White House is still reviewing whether Biden can unilaterally forgive student loan debt. She added that any cancellation could be means tested so that individuals in the highest income brackets would not have their debt fully forgiven.

The NAACP, responding to Thursday’s announcement, urged Biden to wipe out all student debt, despite the president indicating he would not even go up to $50,000.

“For the Black community, who’ve accumulated debt over generations of oppression, anything less is unacceptable,” Wisdom Cole, the national director for the Youth and College Division of the NAACP, said in a statement.

Updated at 3:28 p.m.

Tags Biden Charles Schumer Jen Psaki

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