President Joe Biden is exploring the idea of canceling federal student loan debt as he awaits a memo detailing how much he legally can do.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona has been given the task by the White House to explore the issue. Immediate action stalled as activists push for him to cancel student debt.
According to White House chief of staff Ron Klain, Biden has not decided on the issue, either way, and he is awaiting policy memos.
“Hopefully, we’ll see that in the next few weeks, and then he’ll look at that legal authority; he’ll look at the policy issues around that, and he’ll make a decision,” Klain said in an April 1 interview with Politico.
During a CNN town hall in February, Biden opposed the idea of canceling the $50,000 debt.
“I will not make that happen,” he said to a questioner at the event.
But Biden expressed support for the idea of $10,000 in student debt forgiveness.
“I’m prepared to write off a $10,000 debt, but not 50,” he said. “Because I don’t think I have the authority to do it by signing the pen.”
Biden also spoke about canceling student debt for school teachers and volunteer activities.
Activists, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), continue to push Biden to take action in favor of canceling $50,000 in student debt per person.
Warren detailed last week, more than 36 million people would be entirely freed from student debt if Biden were to cancel the $50,000 debt for students.
Both Biden and former President Donald Trump paused student debt accruing additional interest during the pandemic but did not cancel the debt entirely. But Warren wants Biden to take more drastic action.
“America is facing a student loan time bomb that, when it explodes, could throw millions of families over a financial cliff,” Warren said in a Senate hearing on student loan debt last week.
She said the average student loan borrower faced $400 a month payments to the government and expressed sympathy for young Americans struggling to repay their debt.
“They’re crushed by debt; they’re hounded by servicers and debt collectors,” she said. “It is a massive drag on our economy, and we need a new approach.”
“Why student debt? Why not credit card debt? Why not automobile loan debt?” Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) asked during a hearing. “Why not mortgage debt if we’re going to forgive the debt? How do we be fair to all Americans?”
Kennedy also challenged activists for citing racial equality as a reason for the student debt cancelation.
“How equitable is it to ask taxpayers who haven’t gone to college to pay for those who have gone to college?” he asked.