Joe Biden has drawn a line when it comes to student loan forgiveness.
During a Thursday speech from the White House, the president confirmed he was “taking a hard look” at the issue and whether his administration will provide additional relief for the millions of Americans plagued by student loan debt. However, he told the nation he isn’t looking at $50,000 debt reduction for each borrower.
“I am not considering $50,000 debt reduction,” Biden said. “But I’m in the process of taking a hard look at whether or not there are going to—there will be additional debt forgiveness, and I’ll have an answer on that in the next couple of weeks.”
Biden reportedly addressed student loan forgiveness during a Monday meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif) told CNN the president was seemingly “positive” about the idea of forgiving at least $10,000 in student loan debt per borrower, but declined to make a solid commitment.
According to the Federal Bank Reserve of New York, forgiving $10,000 for every borrower would cancel approximately $321 billion in federal student loan debt and clear the balances of about 31 percent of borrowers (11.8 million people). Canceling $50,000 in student loans would cost around $904 billion and would eliminate the full balance for 79 percent of federal borrowers.
POTUS has faced mounting pressure from Democratic leaders to fulfill his campaign promise of addressing student loan debt. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) have called on Biden to use the Higher Education Act to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt for each borrower.
“The student debt crisis is a racial and economic justice issue,” Pressley said in a statement back in February. “With this pandemic worsening daily, we need bold and high impact policies that will match the scale and scope of the crisis and truly offer immediate relief for people—this must include across the board student debt cancellation. President Biden has the legal authority to cancel billions in student debt with the stroke of a pen and he must meet the moment by using that authority, which would not only set us on a path to an equitable recovery, but would also help reduce the racial wealth gap.”
Also on Thursday, Biden asked Congress to approve a $33 billion aid package to support Ukraine.