Finance

Black Caucus leaders want Biden meeting on student debt

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) speaks to Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) before an enrollment ceremony of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act on Wednesday, March 16, 2022.
Greg Nash
Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) speaks to Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) before an enrollment ceremony of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act on Wednesday, March 16, 2022.

The Congressional Black Caucus is seeking a meeting with President Biden to discuss student loan debt, calling on the White House to approve broad-based cancellation of federal debt through executive action.

“The $1.7 trillion student loan debt crisis is a racial and economic justice issue disproportionately impacting Black communities across the nation,” Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), the chairwoman of the Black Caucus, said in a written statement on Friday.

“We are calling on the Biden Administration to implement broad-based student loan debt cancellation by executive action. We are committed to working with the Administration to explore all options and we are requesting to meet with the President,” Beatty said. “This is a crisis created through policy decisions, and we have a responsibility to address it head-on.”

Senate Democrats met with Biden earlier this week to push for significant action on student loans.

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), who attended the Wednesday meeting along with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), said he met with Biden to “stress the urgency” of the issue and “how important it is to Georgians.”

Biden supported canceling at least $10,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower during his 2020 presidential campaign, though many in his party want him to go as high as canceling $50,000 or wiping out the debt entirely.

Pressed by reporters shortly after the meeting, Warnock acknowledged the president “has publicly said he would not do $50,000,” but he added he wanted “to make sure that we help enough people in a way that will make a difference.”

While Warnock wouldn’t divulge many details about the private meeting, he called it “productive” and told The Hill the president appeared “receptive to getting this done.”

Warnock and other Democrats pushing for widespread student loan forgiveness often point to the racial disparities that persist among borrowers, particularly the disproportionate burden faced by Black borrowers.

In her statement on Friday, Beatty called canceling student loan debt “one of the most impactful ways to address ongoing economic and racial inequities plaguing our nation.”

“As representatives of more than 17 million Black Americans and 80 million Americans, the urgency of this moment requires we move with intention,” she said. “In order to reduce the racial wealth gap and advance a just and equitable economic recovery for all, we must alleviate the burden of student debt. Nothing is off the table, except inaction.”

Tags Biden Black caucus CBC Charles Schumer Congressional Black Caucus Elizabeth Warren Joyce Beatty Raphael Warnock Studen loan debt Student debt student debt relief Student loans
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